Sunday 2 September 2012

Book review : Girl Reading - Katie Ward

Girl Reading reads like a collection of short stories, with each of the seven tales shifting in time and space, crossing the centuries and continents and focusing on a different, totally unrelated female character. It is only the final chapter, set in the future, that explains how they all vaguely tie in together, but I won't spoil the surprise. At one point, the narrator explains: "They are all representations in one way or another of the literate female [...] of a woman or girl reading a book [...] But they are not connected to each other in any meaningful way as far as we can tell."

The central theme of each portrait is, as the title suggests, a girl reading and what this represents in each scene. Artists' perceptions and symbolism add extra hidden depth to the stories and the various historical settings bring a different set of morals and viewpoints to each portrait too.

I couldn't help but feel that the individual chapters were, in a sense, the victim of their own success though. They were so well written, I was totally absorbed and wanted to find out more, needing to discover more about each woman's motives, circumstances, past history and future, so I was left feeling slightly short-changed when the focus shifted to a new character, leaving the previous one dangling. This is a feeling I often have when reading short stories, which is why I tend to avoid them.

It's an interesting concept and one that will fuel many a lively university tutorial or book group discussion.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £7.99

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844086879
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844086870

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Teen read book review : Silenced - Simon Packham


  1. Sounds fun, but would have to read this to find out more. Will try and find it at the library.

  2. I am always on the look out for new and different books to read as I am a huge book reader. After reading your review, I will be ordering this book! Thank you!


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