Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Carnegie Review - Greyhound of a Girl, by Roddy Doyle

This book is all about the big stuff - life, death, and the growing up that goes on in between. It's about how mothers feel about daughters, and how about how they go on to feel about them, even when they grow up and have daughters of their own. 

Mary still kisses her parents goodnight, but knows one day she won't want to. She worries she will become just like her two brothers (now known as Dommo and Killer), who just grunt and laugh at nothing, but also look increasingly isolated and lonely.

But all the family activity is centred on hospital visits and the fact that Mary's grandmother is dying. That's difficult enough for the family to deal with, but they also have to cope with the fact that the ghost of Mary's great-grandmother has chosen this moment to appear on the scene - with questions about fridges and marvelling at tea bags - and wanting to visit the hospital.

It's a short book, but packs a lot in, including the four different voices of the four generations of women, showing how each successive generation flows on from the previous one.

Roddy Doyle handles the action without it becoming either heartbreaking or sentimental, but in fact is both a funny and beautiful read.

A perfectly formed read that gives a subtle message that death is just a normal part of the cycle of life.

And children quite like reading about the big stuff.

For a chance to win some of the shortlisted books, enter our Carnegie Giveaway! Just e-mail SpaceOnTheBookshelf@yahoo.com  with your name and address, and 'Carnegie' in the header.


  1. So cool to get four generations into one story by having one as a ghost. Really unusual to have a ghost story not even meant to be scary. I really love writers who play with ideas like this.

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  3. Can anyone explain to me what the key moment in this book is and why?


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