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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slim book, big themes
I wasn't sure at first what to make of this book - Roddy Doyle writing from the point of view of four women, one of them a ghost? However, I went on to devour it in two sittings!

The writing is simple and direct, dealing with the big themes of life - love, loss and death - with humour, and without sugary sentimentality. This book could easily have got mawkish,...
Published on 4 May 2011 by Bee of Good Cheer

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A twee but comforting idea of motherly connections
Well written, with anecdotal descriptions which make the characters warm and likable:
Mary, not far off being a teenager who is feeling bereft after her best friend moves house to another part of Dublin;
Mary's mother Scarlet who talks in exclamation marks, "Even your whispers end in !!!s"
Emer, Mary's grandmother, remembering how her own grandmother used...
Published on 4 May 2011 by Helen Simpson


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm afraid I didn't find it so grand., 6 April 2013
This review is from: Greyhound of a Girl (Paperback)
This is a clever book. It has multiple narrators, all managed with a skillful third-person immersed style which compliments the themes of family and identity. There are some cleverly observed passages of dialogue - Scarlett (Mary's mother) speaks in exclamation marks. The relationships are subtle but strong, and this unmelodramatic realism is something that Doyle does brilliantly.

I read an earlier kids' book by Doyle a few years ago ('Wilderness!') and loved it. However, I really didn't enjoy 'A Greyhound of a Girl' very much at all.

You see the thing for me was that while I kind of liked the characters, the relationships were perhaps just a touch too stable. There isn't really any conflict in the novel, and consquently there is very little tension. It is a slim volume, but really it could be a lot slimmer as while lots of the clever multiple narrative adds flesh to the characters, it gives little to the reader.

The book does pick up a little in the last twenty or thirty pages, but overall there is just too little going on for this to be a good read.

Read 'Wilderness!' instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Long Road Home, 13 Jun 2011
This review is from: A Greyhound of a Girl (Hardcover)
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Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958 and saw his first novel, "The Commitments" published in 1987. It was later adapted for the big screen, a version that saw Star Trek's Colm Meaney and a very young Andrea Corr among the cast. Doyle went on to win the Booker Prize in 1993 with "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha". While he might be best known for his "grown-up" novels, "A Greyhound of a Girl" is aimed at the children's market.

Mary O'Hara is twelve years old when we first meet her, and is thoroughly miserable. Not only has her best friend, Ava, just moved away but her beloved Granny Emer is dying in hospital. Walking home from school in the rain, she meets a woman who she assumes to have moved into Ava's old house. They have a brief chat, and - strangely - she asks Mary to pass on a message to Emer. When they meet following day, Mary discovers her new neighbour is called Tansey...which, as Scarlett tells her later, was also the name of Emer's mother. As it turns out, it's the ghost of her great-grandmother that Mary has met - and Tansey has come back specifically to see her daughter.

A very easily read book overall, and one (I suspect) that'll provide a bit of comfort to kids going through what Mary's going through. While Mary does play the 'lead' role, Tansey, Emer and Scarlett also get their moment in the spotlight - with Tansey, for me, being the most likeable of the four. The choice of names did have me groaning slightly - having called Mary's mother Scarlett O'Hara, I couldn't believe Doyle avoided using the line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn". (I wonder if Mary herself was a nod to Mary O'Hara, the famous harpist ?) Anyway, even in spite of that, I'd absolutely recommend the book - I'll be adding to the list of things to buy for a niece's birthday.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure Roddy Doyle... for all ages, 5 May 2011
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Colliesaluki "Gub" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Greyhound of a Girl (Hardcover)
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Already being a firm fan of Roddy Doyle, i was expecting a good read, and i was not disappointed. This a a fantastic book for all ages; it deals with the issues of death and dying, easily and effortlessly without undue sadness.

Roddy Doyle has always been able to inject humour into the most heart-rending situations, making you laugh whilst crying, but i was impressed with the way it was done in this book for children. It gently introduces the characters, and makes it clear from the start that a death is very much imminent in the family. But far from making this depressing and fearful, through the use of humour and the arrival of a long-dead relative, he manages to lead the reader through the vivid memories and present discussions of the family members,which is both insightful for them all, emotionally healing, and also very amusing.

Until a death occurs, it is not something that is easily discussed with children, and i thought this book was a wonderful way of introducing the concept without it being fearful, and could be potentially of great use for families with children who may be in the sad situation where a death may be expected in the family, be that a relative or even a beloved pet.

It may also go a very long way to dispelling any childhood fears of ghosts; i imagine there will be a few children very much wanting to meet a ghost like Tansey after reading this book.

there is something in this book for all readers, no matter their age or level, from the simple storyline, to the emotional aspects of families, the concept of spirituality and death, personal beliefs, fears, the special relationships between mothers and daughters and above all, love and humour.

over all, an amusing, gentle and poignant story; in short, pure Roddy Doyle...for all ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doyle's most enjoyable book in a long time, 5 May 2011
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Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Greyhound of a Girl (Hardcover)
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I'm a fan of Roddy Doyle's fiction but his last few books have been a bit dreary - worthy, but dreary. I've missed his sparkling dialogue, humour and warmth. Thankfully all of these return in "A Greyhound Of A Girl".

Aimed at younger readers - age 10+ - this short novel tells the story of a 12 year-old girl, her mother, and their dying grandmother who they regularly visit in hospital. One day the girl is visited by a ghost, who turns out to be the spirit of her great-grandmother, and as the story unfolds we discover more about all of these characters thanks to frequent flashbacks, and although the subject matter is familiar and predictable it remains refreshing and enjoyable without becoming mawkish, overly sentimental or at all religious.

A lovely, short read for anybody, regardless of age.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely beautiful, 3 May 2011
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Margaret7 (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Greyhound of a Girl (Hardcover)
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Roddy Doyle has done a wonderful job of writing a 'women's book' - for girls of all ages. It is a beautiful story of the connections between 4 generations of women in one family. The heart of the story, with nothing to detract from it, no descriptions of the wallpaper or any of the politics of life, just the heart of life. And at the same time it is about getting ready for death: the fear, the grief - and the joy. As someone who is half way between Scarlett and Emer in age, I could identify with all 4 women in the story (including the dead one) and loved every minute of it. I couldn't put it down until it ended. A beautiful book to share with any young girl who is facing a death in the family.
Like many children's books, A Greyhound of a Girl puts most of the adult fiction on the shelves to shame. It is real, it is beautiful and it is straight to the heart of things: the eternal truth, that love never dies.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Greyhound of a Girl, 2 May 2011
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Moonlit (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Greyhound of a Girl (Hardcover)
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Twelve year old Mary has been warned not to talk to strangers but the woman who talks to her the evening her best friend moves house sounds like her granny and what's more she knows her name. They strike up an instant rapport, though Mary worries about the woman talking like an old woman even though she looks young. And there's her clothes too, strangely old fashioned. But soon the strange woman reveals she is Mary's great-grandmother, dead for over eighty years and she has come to reassure her daughter Emer (Mary's grandmother who is gravely ill in hospital) that dying is nothing to be frightened of.

This is a slim volume ostensibly for children but eminently suitable for adults too. Roddy Doyle has a wonderful way with language and captures the pitch and cadence of the southern Irish accent perfectly - his depiction of Tansey's (the great grandmother) speech in particular is a delight. The themes are familiar ones: love, family, death, but it's all done in a fresh way without being sentimental. Quirky, funny in places, this is a book to be treasured.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!, 10 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Greyhound of a Girl (Paperback)
As a 'grown up' reading this book for a University course, I expected to enjoy it as a light read, but not to really engage with it....I'm very happy to say I was wrong! Not only did I enjoy it, (I read it in one sitting), I found myself totally absorbed, tears in my eyes and on the phone to my own Mammy as soon as I had finished! A wonderful book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 15 Jun 2014
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Wonderful book with a real sense of the magical. What a lovely image of so many generations getting together and sharing precious time .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Made me cry, 14 Jun 2014
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I just bought this without reading the reviews and I assume it's aimed at teenagers. As a 43 year old, I'm hardly the target market but loved it nonetheless. Made my cry like a baby - it's such a lovely story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, 13 Feb 2014
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This is a really good book very interesting wish it was longer. The characters are described very well! ! 😄
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Greyhound of a Girl
Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle (Paperback - 7 Jun 2012)
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