Friday, 15 February 2013

A Greyhound of a Girl - M's review

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

A Greyhound of a Girl has been longlisted for the Carnegie 2013 medal. This review takes some of the judging criteria into account.

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
A Greyhound of a Girl is a short, contained story about an Irish family. Mary’s grandmother is dying in hospital and she thinks she’s just met her great-grandmother who died many decades ago. The sub-plot draws in four generations of women to tell the story of this great-grandmother’s death.

At first, the story was really promising. As I expected from Roddy Doyle, it is very humorous and it frequently made me laugh and read little snippets out loud. There is a lot of dialogue and Doyle manages to paint very, warm and engaging characters. You can just picture all of them – Mary, Scarlett, Emer and Tansey – all with different kinds of twinkles and tears in their eyes.
A Greyhound of a Girl is a pretty straightforward story with easy language and a lot of dialogue. It is a quick and light read. While the main theme of the novel is about death and obviously has some very sad parts, the main mood that is created is funny – not in a poignant way but in a let’s-have-some-fun way. However, the storyline does switch characters and timeframes quite a bit. Usually I relish this but not so much with this novel. I was confused too many times about which ‘mother’ was speaking. Also, an event involving greyhounds was continually repeated, mostly from different characters’ perspectives, but it still felt repetitive and became annoying.

Genrewise, I’d say this might be contemporary mixed with light paranormal (that would all depend on whether or not you interpret ghosts as real or not).


Publication details: 2011, Marion Lloyd Books, London, hardback

This copy: received from the publisher for reviewing the Carnegie 2013 longlist


This review counts towards M’s British Books Challenge 2013.


  1. Thanks for the comments on my blog! I read this one too and I found it really funny, and thought that even though it was sad, the ending was lovely.

  2. I always enjoy sitting down and reading your blog post, so I am giving you a very inspiring blogger award which you can claim on my blog The Children's War

    1. Oh thank you, Alex! You know I love your blog too. I've had a look at your award post and I haven't done any of those things you mention in New York either - done a couple elsewhere though :)


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