Sunday, July 18, 2010

Girl meets boy

Girl meets boy is another installment in the Canongate Myth Series. In 2007, Britain’s The Independent named Girl meets boy one of the best books of the year. The characters not only discuss the nature of myth, but they also take on gender equality, gender identity and capitalism. Ali Smith deals with these themes in a mature, intelligent manner. When I picked up the book, I was excited to read it.

I almost didn’t finish it. The first 49 pages were so frustrating, I almost shelved the book and moved on to something else. Being only 160 pages, I pushed myself to the end. I’m glad I did. I finished with a feeling of accomplishment. What I didn’t finish with is that feeling of satisfaction I often get when completing a novel, or that feeling of wonder, or the feeling of the story staying with you once it’s done. I don’t even know if I’ll remember what this book was about in a year.

I found Girl meets boy difficult to follow. There were no quotation marks anywhere. I’ve read other novels that did not include this particular piece of punctuation (for example: Michael Ondaatje). I’ve read books that didn’t conform to accepted styles and enjoyed them. These novels were at least structured so that I could follow along. I found conversations a jumble and I had to re-read passages in the first section more than once, just to make sure I had it right. When the story moved from the first sister to the other, it became much easier to follow and a bit more interesting. I can understand how other readers would enjoy this book and I did like parts of it. It’s just not something I would recommend.

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