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That is this entire book save twenty-ish pages.

It doesn't get more complicated than that. However, this book is effortlessly charming and sweet. Mary, truly is a witty, cheeky, little girl and her conversations with her mother, grandmother and ghostly great-grandmother are very amusing. The strength of these four powerhouse characters is what keeps this novel together. I did have some issues with the book though. Some of the dialogue is downright nonsensical and this book should come with a warning for gratuitous use of punctuation.

Mary's mother, Scarlett, talks like this for most of the novel: "Mary! But serious question to Doyle, how do you even pronounce twelve exclamation marks? Every time I read it, because this is not the only time Mary uses a ridiculous amount of exclamation marks in lieu of a word, all I saw was someone pulling the human equivalent of this expression: It eventually made for some cute dialogue, but that didn't negate the original headache my editor brain gave me while reading this. I suppose this book, as cute and fun as it was to read, only got three stars because I couldn't quite see the point of it.

Mary doesn't grow or change in any remarkable way other than to appreciate her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother - which she already mostly did. With so much dialogue, most of it unnecessary, it was easy to get immersed in the characters, but not so much in the story. It took me a long time to read a very short book. Once I put it down, I felt no compulsion to pick it up again.

It was a short and sweet story, but rather like the many exclamation marks, I'm not sure I entirely saw the point or truly grasped their meaning. View all 3 comments. Mar 06, Marija rated it it was ok Shelves: ya-mg , contemporary. My main disappointment with A Greyhound of a Girl was that the story was not entirely what I expected. When initially reading the back cover, I expected something rather poignant yet cute—a story of four generations on the road together, facing a journey of discovery, forgiveness and acceptance with a few giggles along the way.

Typically, stories like this one are highly personal and My main disappointment with A Greyhound of a Girl was that the story was not entirely what I expected. Typically, stories like this one are highly personal and emotional, which in turn makes the story feel real. The characters seemed intangible Whenever something was said that was cute or funny to them, as a reader, I kind of felt like a bystander listening in on bits of a conversation that was not really meant for me to hear, i.

But what really contributes to that otherworldly quality to this story is the ghost element. I found it strange how the characters were so immediately accepting of this rather strange phenomenon, as if it was an everyday experience. Perhaps this is meant to reinforce the childlike natures of the characters. Even though four generations of women make up this story, they all have the same sort of childish innocence about them In this story, no one ever questions, everything is readily believed and approved.

Because of this, other than this innocent sense of acceptance, there is no sense of real growth or development on this rather significant journey for these women. Overall, while I like the idea that Roddy Doyle wrote a story like this for children, I wished that he could have developed the story and the themes a little more—focused more on the real rather than the imaginary. I think this is an important subject for children to consider, yet as written, I feel that only a surface representation of what experiencing a loss could feel like is really explored.

Mar 06, Michelle rated it liked it Shelves: uk-ya , ya-contemp , read. Whimsical, charming and very, very sweet. It is simply a story about the connection between mothers and daughters. It is also a story about growing up, letting go and losing the ones you love.

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Not often do I read a book in one day, but the fact that I read this in a day is perhaps testament to just how engaging I found this novel. The characters of Mary, Scarlett, Emer and Tansey are what make this story. The connection between each of the 3. However, Mary was my favourite — cheeky, feisty and loveable. That brings me to another point and that is that this book is almost entirely dialogue. I loved the flashbacks and the historical aspect of the novel. I just wish there had been more as, for me, the present day scenes became a little annoying.

So, if the book was so sweet and charming and if I found it so engaging why am I not rating it higher?

Well I felt a little cheated to be honest. I was disappointed to find it was in fact only the last 50 pages or so. However, this was a really fast, charming, nostalgic and quirky read which is probably best enjoyed with a slice of cake and a cup of tea.

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It was truly grand and reminded me of this sweet little song. This review and many more can be found at Maree's Musings. View 2 comments. My grandmother died in January.

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We were expecting it for a while. She had been in and out of the hospital for months, her diabetes causing circulation problems with her legs to the point where he body could no longer keep up. I had realized prior to that what a loss my grandmother would be, but it was still hard for me to understand how it would feel—this was the first death in my family that I had experienced. Sometimes, the isolated nature of our cognition inevitably leads to a mild form of so My grandmother died in January.

Sometimes, the isolated nature of our cognition inevitably leads to a mild form of solipsism. It is hard to conceptualize of other people, previous generations, having adventures and experiences and memories of their own. What if my grandma were still around, haunting us, watching us grow and change and have our own children? When she dies from flu at the beginning of the century, she stays on the family farm as a ghost, hidden from sight but privy to the life of her child, Emer.

Tansey watches as Emer grows up and has her own daughter, Scarlett, who in turn gives birth to Mary. Four generations on, Scarlett and Mary live in Dublin, the family farm long ago sold to a neighbour as the family diminished and broke apart. It takes a while for Mary to realize that Tansey is the ghost of her great-grandmother. After this, she introduces Tansey to her mother like you do , and they reunite grandmother with great-grandmother before embarking on a touching road trip.

With A Greyhound Girl , Roddy Doyle explores the connections, implicit and explicit, between generations of women in an Irish family. The ghost aspect definitely adds something here. This would be a very different story if Tansey had been present, had known Emer, and a different story still if Tansey had been absent but somehow alive. By reintroducing Tansey as a ghost, ripped from Emer in an untimely manner by disease, Doyle sidesteps the need to address recriminations. But so does Scarlett. And Mary. I mean, I can understand a child, particularly a twelve-year-old who has decided she knows everything about the world and nothing can surprise her, reacting with a weary haughtiness.

And maybe Scarlett is just a particularly hip mother? They all smile and exchange polite words and then go off to visit Emer in the hospital, Tansey in tow.


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There is a notable lack of drama or conflict in this book. There, I said it. Even the fact that Emer is dying, and that she gets to meet her mother after all these years, feels less sensational than turning on a television. I groaned the first time I read that exchange and quickly skimmed any further such paragraphs as they appeared. In his attempts to give his characters depth and definition, Doyle just reduces them to trite exchanges better suited for a Saturday Night Live sketch. Generational stories are hard to do. To work effectively, they need a real sense of loss and sacrifice.

They need secrets, moments of haunting, twisted darkness that have been repressed down the decades. They need confrontation and revelation. There is very little of that present in this book. No one yells or screams.


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There is some sadness and melancholy, as one might expect from people who are watching a relative slowly decline. But sadness alone does not a compelling story make. For a novel that culminates in a road trip, there is hardly any sense of adventure. Worse still, there is no sense of danger. This experience changes Mary and Scarlett; they become different people for having known Tansey and seen this side of Emer. Nevertheless, when I read a novel, I need to be more than a voyeur to an extended family reunion. I need something that is going to grip me by threatening real, three-dimensional characters.

The dialogue is corny and the characterization flatter than an opened bottle of Coke. Yet he still manages to capture some of the truths about family life. A Greyhound Girl feels like a book that is either too big or too small—in terms of scope, not length.

To truly sprawl in a generational sense, it needs more girth. Or, Doyle could have gone the other way, focused on the relationship between mothers and daughters. Instead, he treads some middle ground between the pinnacles of the two extremes. As a result, rather than being a successful synthesis of the two approaches, the book is an unambitious presentation of an unexamined story. View 1 comment.

May 22, Sarah rated it it was ok. Turns out it's her great grandmother who is dead She wants Mary's help to send a message to her daughter who is dying.. It's a cute quick story about 4 generations of women..