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In this guide, you’ll find Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other book club questions, a summary, best quotes and my top 3 recommended similar reads that will aid your book club discussion.
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Girl, Woman, Other Summary
Based on 12 women with stories interconnected through the time of 7 decades, Girl, Woman, Other shares their struggles with a unique hybrid narrative style known as ‘Fusion Fiction.’
Starting with Amma who is a new playwright exploring and sharing about her identity as a black lesbian woman and finishing with Penelope, a white woman, finding out something that shocks her for life. We see these characters overcome, share and struggle with their identity.
Exploring the-often-not-spoken-enough experiences around feminism, gender identity, racism, womanhood, relationships, careers and finding ones self, this book is the perfect read for anyone of this day and age.
Girl, Woman, Other Book Club Questions
- Off the 12 stories written, which ones were you most interested in and why?
- What are your thoughts on the portrayal of men in the novel? Do you believe they could’ve been represented better?
- What are your thoughts on the betrayals among characters that took place in the book?
- If you could meet any characters in the book, whom would you choose and why?
- Do you believe this book would’ve made the same impact on the readers and communities had it been published a decade or so earlier?
- Girl, Woman, Other discusses several women’s issues from being a mother to aspirations and guilt. Would you criticise any of these topics as misrepresented? If so, which and why?
- In the book, the newer generation is portrayed to be more understanding of women’s struggles than the older. Do you agree with this and why?
- Evaristo’s narration was rather unique as she jumped stories and timelines. What are your thoughts on the narration of this book and the way it explored the lives of these women while connecting them to each other?
- “People have to share everything they do these days, from meals, to nights out, to selfies of themselves half n*ked in a mirror. The borders between public and private are dissolving” Do you agree with this quote? Share your thoughts on the dissolving boundaries of private and public in this day and age.
- “Ageing is nothing to be ashamed of, Especially when the entire race is in it together.” People obsess more over the age and consider it a failure when they do not achieve their goals at a certain age. Discuss your thoughts on this concept and what you think are proper ages to achieve certain goals.
- Girl, Woman, Other speaks largely on “feminism” however, lately everyone seems to have their own understanding for this word. What do you believe feminism truly means?
- “White people are only required to represent themselves, not an entire race.” However, people often expect other races to represent all their race without giving them the space of individuality as white people are often given. Discuss your thoughts on this.
- Evaristo explores the concept of who women are and all that they can be for the readers. Do you believe this message was properly conveyed in the book? Share your thoughts on this message and whether there should be more books speaking on this.
- “Life was different before 9/11, Waris said, as they left the town behind and walked along a busy main road passing big old houses made of thick slabs of grey stone; she was too young to remember the ‘before era’, when her mother said people looked at hijabbed women with surprise, curiosity or pity.” Discuss this statement.
- Racism is a concept that divides communities based on something that isn’t controlled by them and shouldn’t be demeaned for, however, many people still tend to have this internal bias. How do you think this book helps us understand the subject and achieve a racism-free environment?
- “The truth is that hierarchies of power and privilege won’t disappear, every historian knows this, it’s innate to human nature and inherent in all societies in all eras and equally manifests in the animal kingdom, so I can’t pretend otherwise.” Discuss your thoughts on this quote.
- Evaristo came up with her own writing style “fusion fiction” in this book, without full stops having free-flowing sentences. How was your experience reading this style?
- Evaristo said in a Penguin interview that she isn’t afraid to write outside of her experience, just as she did in this book, regardless of the consequences she encourages white British authors to write on multicultural fiction and not be afraid of getting it wrong. Should authors write about cultures they don’t represent in their real life? Discuss your thoughts on this statement of hers.
- What are your thought on women having to deal with not only gender biases but added racism?
- This book has a commendable approach towards women’s struggles while sharing the lives of 12 inspiring women. On that note, Share about a woman that has inspired you in your own life and in what ways.
5 Best Quotes from Girl, Woman, Other
“Be a person with knowledge not just opinions”Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other)
“Life is an adventure to be embraced with an open mind and loving heart”Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other)
“There was no such thing as objective truth and if you think something’s good because it speaks to you it is”Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other)
“What matters most to me, is that I know how I feel, and the rest of the world might catch up one day, even if it’ll be a quiet revolution over longer than my lifetime, if it happens at all”Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other)
“She’s Mum’s emotional caretaker, always has been, always will be it’s the burden of being an only child, especially a girl who will naturally be more caring.”Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other)
Books Like Girl, Woman, Other.
25 year old Jamaican-British journalist Queenie Jenkins is struggling with both her cultures.
Trying to find herself and answering all the questions the world has been answering for her amidst all the wrong decisions she’s been making as she struggles to find her place among a racist world that looks down upon women.
Queenie is an important read about modern women finding themselves as the world constantly tells us how to be.
This powerful read showcasing the struggles of women in modern day is just as inspiring and important as Girl, Woman, Other. It explores themes of mental health, race, gentrification and identity.
In her Debut novel, Etaf Rum shares the story of 3 women growing up in America as Arab women, who then find out the shocking truths of their community.
Isra had no choice when she left Palestine to marry Adam as a teenager, however, after several years history is repeating itself as Deya, Isra’s daughter finds herself in the same situation.
Grown to believe that her parents died in a car accident, Deya is shocked to find a mysterious yet familiar note that sends her on a path to find out secrets that were unknown to her about her community.
It is a tale about surviving in America as an Arab Palestinian woman while getting through domestic abuse, trauma, love and finding one’s path.
This spectacular read has the same ground as Girl, Woman, Other, when it comes to women’s struggles, getting through abusive relationships and finding your way as a woman in a world that constantly tries to dominate your life.
When two light-skinned black twins from Vignes run away at the age of sixteen following very different lives from one another, one marries a black man and has a black daughter while the other fakes her identity as a white woman about which her white husband has no clue.
After years, what will happen when their own daughters’ fates are interconnected?
A compassionate story that puts together generations of this family during the 1950s to 1990s together struggling with their racial identity in America while also exploring American history.
It sits well beside Girl, Woman, Other as it deals with accepting one’s true racial identity while getting through the emotional, mental and real life struggles that comes with it. It helps readers understand the view of surviving as a light-skinned black woman in American communities.
Wrap Up: Girl, Woman, Other Book Club Questions
I hope this Girl, Woman, Other book club questions and discussion guide helps you with your next book club session! Let me know what book would you like to see next.