This was my book group read for March, and funnily enough, like the previous book group book (Exactly What You Mean by Ben Hinshaw), it is a novel which is really a series of connected short stories. Whereas I hated the previous book, and used the fact that it was really short stories as the basis of my rant about it, I actually really enjoyed reading this book.
I have looked at other people’s reviews of this book on Goodreads, and it’s quite divided, with many people not liking how the book follows 12 characters, sequentially, most of them Black British women with various ‘issues’ and, they feel only skims the surface of each character before moving on. I can see where they are coming from, and usually this would bother me too, but, I don’t know, I just found the reading of this book to be a thoroughly enjoyable immersive experience.
The style of writing is also divisive, without much punctuation or capitalisation which some people hated and others (me included) found it gave the storytelling a presence and truth and verisimilitude (I had to look that word up because I was reaching for something that meant what it means!!) like someone is telling you the story from their life with passion without having to pause to conform to grammatical rules.
I can’t explain why I was so captivated by this book – I’m not a black British woman (I’m a white Irish woman (or almost Irish)) but I felt kinship and empathy with the characters.
The other girls in the book group all enjoyed it too.