By Bernardine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other ventures into creative unknown waters of various social eras. Bernardine Evaristo, the first black and British woman to be the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize took this novel to portray a journey of identity in the hopeful stories of generational women. The stories the author creates are infused with thought provoking, empathetic emotions, vibrant humor and unforgettable characters. These are voices we often see in our society as women, varying in sexual orientation, gender acceptance, femininity, abuse, trauma, classism and colorism. This book encompasses what it means to struggle, but it also endeavors on love, joy and hope.
The author creates a narrative that explores experiences with sexual orientation and transgenders. We see characters who conceals their sexual preferences due to the society they live in and on the other hand we see the freedom and embrace in being who you are or who you choose to become. “Dominique guessed her own sexual preferences from puberty, wisely kept them to herself, unsure how her friends or family would react, not wanting to be a social outcast.” The author sets a tone throughout the different characters of whether they would define themselves as a outcast or let society define them as such. Creating a feeling of abandonment for some, shame to their family and their religion for others, and transforming traditional beliefs while breaking the standard expected of women. Evaristo helps cancel the old narrative of gender roles and empowers the authenticity of the woman in her work.
I can truly say there was never a dull moment within this book which caused me to continue to turn the page. The journey of these women struggle to silent victories won my heart over. How the characters were able to overcome bodily racism, colorism within their own race, classism, internalized racism, domestic abuse, rape, orientation bashing and child loss was amazing and you couldn’t help but to feel hopeful for the moment they will show how they race into their final victory. Each chapter felt like an actual testimony from a piece of one’s mother, sister, grandmother, friend or aunt life. Although a fictional piece, it was realistic in the matters.
I give this Booker Prize winning novel a 5/5 rating. It rattles and warms the heart of the reader all together. It pounces on the need of continual woman empowerment in the black community. It stresses the need of complete awareness for the black woman. It focuses on the voices that society considered “othered”and normalized seeking therapy. All social issues with authentic responses. “We should celebrate that many more women are reconfiguring feminism and that grassroots activism is spreading like wildfire and millions of women are waking up to the possibility of taking ownership of our world as fully-entitled human beings”