The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (Crown, 2014) Received with thanks from NetGalley.
I read this book before Christmas, I’ve just been a very busy bee. I’m catching up with all the reviews and posts I should have done last year. Bear with!! 🙂
I totally get the ‘Margaret Atwood’ comparison here. There is definitely an element of her SF handiwork in this narrative. I think, for me, it’s that Oryx and Crake vibe, especially when you think about the individual stories of the characters.
So, what worked for me?
Writing Style – It was just a fit. You can usually tell within the first few pages if the writing style suits your reading style, you know? And this was definitely the case here. I was immediately drawn in.
Character(s) – I liked both Meena and Mariama very much. I often find myself leaning towards one character over another, but not this time.
Setting – I did a post colonial literature module AND an SF dystopian literature module at university and there were many instances in this book I could have used in an essay for either, methinks. I really enjoyed the setting, the place and time, the way this really is something different for the genre.
What didn’t work for me?
POV – As I said above, I liked both characters, but I’m not always a fan of a switching narrative. This book moves between two first person perspectives and sometimes I found myself forgetting who I was reading, or I felt like I was pulled out of one story too soon, if that makes sense? This wasn’t always the case, but it happened enough for me to feel like it wasn’t quite working for me… Maybe I just need a better attention span! HA!
Some scenes – some scenes… Ok maybe just one scene.. I found uncomfortable. I’m still wrestling with myself over it because I’ve read some weird stuff in a similar field. I mean, I loved the heck out of Carter’s The Passion of New Eve. But I think there’s a certain scene in this book that kinda crosses the boundaries of my own moral standing. I think. I’m not sure. I like that it’s bold and it’s still well written… It just didn’t sit well with me.
The ending – I kinda expected more. I liked how each girl and their journey came together. That was neat writing. But I just expected more of a big hurrah. An explosive revelation. Fireworks. Fanfare. I dunno. I’ve been watching too much TV… It was a good ending, but I felt like it was missing something.
All in all, I liked this book. It’s neat, clever writing and I enjoyed the narrative style. It’s definitely something different, but in the end, I’m not sure it was really for me. A solid 3.5 out of 5 though. Fo sho. (LOVE the cover art for this version!)