Girl by Edna O’Brien

Girl by Edna O’Brien review by Carla Owens – a masterclass of storytelling!

By Me Too Media
Mon 02 December, 2019

Girl – Edna O’Brien

Girl is a fictional account of the Boko Haram schoolgirl kidnappings. We follow our main character Maryam from the night she was taken, through her escape and eventual journey home. Girl is a story about bravery, struggle, stigma, and loss of girlhood.


Although dealing with a harrowing topic, Girl is not a graphic or grisly read. O’Brien has weaved a delicate and sensitive narrative – it was well informed and honest. O’Brien herself, had traveled to Nigeria to collect survivor stories as part of her research.


Girl was a shocking read – we hear about the horrors of terrorism a lot in the news –  what stuck with me was the hardship Maryam faced after her escape. It was so difficult for her to find help because of the stigma surrounding women in her position. The Nigeria O’Brien describes is fraught with nerves and suspicion, so much so that even Maryam’s own family find it difficult to welcome her home.


While O’Briens novel is thoughtful and well considered, O’Brien may not have quite captured the spirit of a Nigerian school girl. The novel also suffers from a case of poor editing, with confusing tense changes and questions without question marks!


Overall, Girl is a beautiful novel and an important read. It made me think a lot about the struggles young girls face across the world and educate myself more about the situation in Nigeria.


4 out of 5 stars


By Carla Owens