Girl - Edna O'Brien - Keeping Up With The Penguins
Buy Girl here.
(affiliate link)

Girl is a fictionalised account of the experiences of one of the young women captured and held by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Faber Books were kind enough to send me a copy for review.

O’Brien imagines the events of 2014 through the eyes of her narrator, Maryam. She dedicates Girl to the mothers and daughters of North East Nigeria, and according to her acknowledgements, she spent quite some time in the area, researching and developing this novel in consultation with their communities.

The prose is blunt and staccato, and at times seems detached; perhaps this is a deliberate attempt on O’Brien’s part to echo a dissociative traumatic response, along with strange shifts of tense and point-of-view within chapters, sometimes within paragraphs.

Girl‘s conclusion shows that escape, rescue, and homecoming weren’t necessarily the happy affairs that the media might have had us believe. Still, I struggled to get past the friction of a privileged older white woman writing the story of a young woman of colour, particularly a story so emotionally and politically charged.

Girl is an interesting read side-by-side with other #ownvoices and non-fiction accounts of the Boko Haram kidnapping, but perhaps not one to be read in isolation.

Buy Girl on Booktopia here. (affiliate link)
Read Girl on audiobook via Libro.fm here. (affiliate link)