review; a greyhound of a girl

Title: A Greyhound of a Girl
Author: Roddy Doyle
Pub. Date: May, 2012
Summary: Mary O’Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary’s street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny’s own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past.
Genre: YA, Contemporary

“One of them dead, one of them dying, one of them driving, and one of them just starting out.”

Before I started reading A Greyhound of a Girl, I had assumed it would be your average coming-of-age tale – and in many cases it is. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was the supernatural element. Ha, and I really have no idea what that is; I suppose I wasn’t paying attention when reading the summary?

A Greyhound of a Girl is the story of four women: Tansey (short for Anastasia), who died when she was just 25; Emer, Tansey’s 80-year old daughter who was just three when Tansey passed away; Scarlett, Emer’s daughter; and Mary, Scarlett’s 12-year old daughter. Although Mary is the central character, the other three play equally vital roles and reading about each one – particularly Emer and Tansey – was a joy.

Mary’s very best friend Ava just moved out of their neighbor and into another part of Dublin. Understandably, Mary is distraught until an odd woman suddenly ‘moves in.’ She looks young, but gives off the impression she’s much older. Her speech and dress certainly give Mary pause, though she finds it comforting. After a few meetings, Mary discovers this is her grandmother’s mother. A real ghost has come to visit.

Although Tansey never left her daughter’s side, it is only now she feels the need to make her presence known. She knows her daughter’s time is nearly up and wants to help her through. The moments with Tansey and Emer were absolutely lovely. In fact, the entire books could have been solely about them and I would have loved it!

A Greyhound of a Girl executes the multiple narrative flawlessly. I’m actually one of the oddballs who enjoys multi POVs. Unfortunately, not all authors handle this well, but Mr. Doyle did a superb job. Not only were there dual narratives, but these women lived during different eras. Definitely my favorite aspect of this book.

Where the novel lost points was in the characters’ speech. I lost track of the number of times Mary said ‘like.’ Sometimes she said it more than once in a sentence! Also, ‘so’ and ‘grand.’ Scarlett quickly became my least favorite character and it was her manner of speaking that sealed the deal. Nearly every sentence ended with an exclamation point. There were a few instances where Mary pointed this out, and the dialogue looked like:

“What happened to the !!!s?” said Mary.
“The !!!s” said Mary.


“Even your whispers end in !!!s” Mary whispered back.

It came to the point where I no longer found it cute or funny.

Overall, A Greyhound of a Girl is a sweet story about mothers and daughters that can easily be read in a single sitting.

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