A Greyhound of a Girl

A Greyhound of a Girl

by Roddy Doyle

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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. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.

Praise for A Greyhound of a Girl
STARRED REVIEW “A warm, witty, exquisitely nuanced multigenerational story.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

STARRED REVIEW “This elegantly constructed yet beautifully simple story, set in Ireland and spun with affection by Booker Prize–winner Doyle, will be something different for YA readers. These four lilting voices will linger long after the book is closed.”
Booklist, starred review

"Written mostly in dialogue, at which Doyle excels, and populated with a charming foursome of Irish women, this lovely tale is as much about overcoming the fear of death as it is about death itself."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"In this moving and artfully structured ghost tale, four generations of Irish women come together. A big part of the pleasure here is the rhythm of the language and the contrasting voices of the generations. Any opportunity to read it aloud would be a treat."
Horn Book

"For children grieving the death of a parent or grandparent, this book provides comfort."
Library Media Connection

Capitol Choices 2013 - Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens
Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - Young Adult Fiction
USBBY Outstanding International Books List 2013


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781613124185
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Roddy Doyle is an internationally acclaimed novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. In 1993 he won the Man Booker Prize for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Doyle has also published many books for children, the most recent of which, A Greyhound of a Girl, was short-listed for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. He lives in Dublin.

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A Greyhound of a Girl 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
nnicolic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The four generations of women are 12-year-old Mary O'Hara, her mother, Scarlett, her grandmother, Emer, who lies dying in hospital, and her great-grandmother, Tansey, who is already dead and is a friendly ghost.Tansey, who died when Emer was a small child, wants to pass on a message to Emer, which is " It'll be grand!" and " there's nothing to be worried or frightened of" as she hovers in the air and then one evening meets Mary O'Hara, and asks for her help and Scarlett's.Almost at the end of the book, the four women take a night-long road trip from Dublin to Wexford to see the house in which Tansey and Emer used to live and then they went to the seaside where they got icecream cones. After this night- long trip, Emer dies at the Sacred Heart Hospital the next day.
beserene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Doyle's newest is a book for children, but it isn't really. It has a certain overtone of nostalgia that appeals to adults, as well as four generations of characters, each of whom represents a key moment of human life and a key family role; these things make it suit an adult looking back perhaps more than a child looking forward. But you mustn't think that this is a flaw. The whole book is soaked in emotional and familial bonds -- it is more intense, less silly, and less interested in presenting the minutia of childhood than most recent books for/about children -- but there is nothing flawed in that. It's just a different sort of creature. I'm doing a terrible job explaining the difference, but I assure you, the book is lovely. It celebrates life, generations, women, family, death -- all these wonderful realities and ideas -- but it does so swiftly. You know what the end will be almost from the start, so it isn't about plot at all, but it's compelling anyway. The voices of the characters -- each bearing a distinct pattern from a distinct moment -- echo in the mind, creating a sense of conversation that is as aural as it is verbal ("hearing" those voices was, for me, the best part of the book). In the end, it creates a sense of comfort as well as a sense of loss. It's not an ordinary sort of book. It's the sort of book that you read with your daughter when her grandmother is dying. And I know that doesn't really sound like a recommendation, but it is. This a sad book, a reflective book... but also a wonderful book. I think I'll be returning to it again someday.
taletreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been reading a lot of stinkers lately, so when I got the chance to read this book (the title and cover automatically grabbing me), I jumped on it. The first thing you'll notice is how engaging both the dialogue and the dialect of the characters is; I loved words like "eegit" and how the mother, Scarlett, always ended her sentences with an exclamation. And then there's Mary, the main character, who, of course, is just becoming a teenager and uses a certain word until it's worn out...you'll see. Either way, it's humorous and the way they talk grows on you after a while. I also found virtually no grammatical errors, which I love to see! It makes me more secure when I read a book to trust the author when he/she uses grammar correctly, if that makes sense. I also thought the "chapter markers," or whatever they are called, were beautiful illustrations and added to the beauty of the story in a way you could actually see. I think my favorite thing about this book was not only the humor in it, but the suspense at the end, and how touching it was. I don't cry with many stories, and although I still didn't cry with this one, the story made me yearn to see my grandmother, which the thought of did make me start to tear up.There were a few quotes I highlighted that I really enjoyed, especially one that proves my theory that all ages are meant to enjoy it. I will wait until the book is actually released, however, before I spout out what the author might decide at the last minute to remove. Even though the story is aimed at children and YA, and even though one of my favorite characters from the story just so happened to be a ghost, I truly believe this is a book that all ages will enjoy. Like the four generations of women who came together in the story, different generations can come together to read this book.
bookwren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is marvelous! I read that Doyle is known for his excellent dialogue and that is so true in this story of four generations of women. Set in modern day Ireland, flashbacks to the past reveal Great-Grandmother's Grandmother's, and Mom's lives to the daughter. I love the dialects and Irish lilt and expressions. This would be a wonderful book to read for a mother-daughter book club, or for any book club. The humor between the four women is a blessing and joy. Even though the grandmother is dying, and it is sad, it is not a sad story. This is one to read again! Includes a map of Ireland and an inlay of the particlar environs of the story on the endpapers.
lostinalibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Greyhound of a Girl is the story of four generations of women who have united to ease the death of one of them, Emir. The other three are her daughter, Scarlett, Scarlett's daughter, Mary, and Tansy, Emir's own mother who died young and has returned to let her know that death is nothing to fear. In fact, Tansy says, "It's grand!". These four women embark on a road trip so that Emir can get one last glimpse of the home she grew up in and, on the way, they develop bonds that will ultimately transcend the loss of death. Author Roddy Doyle's description of this trip is one of the most marvelous sentences I have read in a very long time - 'One is dead, one is dying, one is driving, and one is just starting out'.Doyle reverses that old cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words: he weaves beautiful vivid images with a modicum of words, never a word too many and never one out of place, yet together they create a lyricism that sings off the page, that sparkles with colour and music and demands to be read out loud. This book is, on the surface, a ghost story. But it is so much more than that. It is a celebration of family, of women, of lives lived and death eased. But this is also no 'Circle of Life' Disney tale; it is sweet without being saccharine; humorous without being dark; touching without being melodramatic. In fact, A Greyhound of a Girl is the most joyful book about death and dying I have ever read. At the end, although I was moved by Emir's story, I wasn't sad; instead, I found myself smiling as her family gave her the gift of seeing her life one last time.
DebbieMcCauley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.¿ 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl Mary O¿Hara's beloved Granny, Emer, is dying, but can't seem to let go of life. Enter Tansey, the ghost Granny¿s mother, who died of influenza with Emer was just three years old. She has come to help her daughter say goodbye to those she loves and move on with her journey. One night Emer, Tansey, Mary, and her mother, Scarlett, head off on a midnight road trip into the past. I love the connection between the characters and the interesting way they interact with each other. This is a very sweet and loving story with many humorous moments. Doyle has told the woman's story with wit and style. Very enjoyable.
gaskella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This short novel by the fine Irish writer Roddy Doyle is written for teens, but I thoroughly enjoyed it on an adult level too¿Mary O¿Hara is twelve. She¿s feisty and rather cheeky ¿ but then her Mum Scarlett was too when she was younger; it¿s a family trait. Mary¿s gran, Emer used to be like that too, but she¿s nearing the end of her life in hospital, it won¿t be long. Emer never really knew her mother, for Tansey died of the flu when she was only three.One day as Mary is walking home from school, she meets a friendly old lady, who somehow seems familiar. They strike up a conversation, and the old lady is there again the next day. She says her name is Tansey. When Mary tells her Mum this, she¿s shocked to the bone as the only Tansey she knows is her dead grandmother. Mary introduces them, and finds out that Tansey is the ghost of her late great-grandmother who has come to help her gran in her last days. Together the O¿Hara women hatch a plan to help Tansey and Emer meet properly before she dies, and to see what has become of the farm they grew up in.Considering that death is one of the central themes of this novel, whether it be the impending demise of Emer, the sudden illness of Tansey, or the animals on the farm, there¿s nothing shocking or unnatural about it at all, it¿s part of the cycle of life. This allows the book to concentrate almost exclusively on the four women. The few male characters just pass through now and then, rarely stopping to join in the tale, like Mary¿s teenaged brothers who only appear to eat; Mary finds Dommo and Killer, as Dominic and Kevin now monnicker themselves to be an alien species these days.Doyle alternates voices between conventional story-telling and chapters narrated by one of the four women, starting with Mary. You can see their family resemblances clearly ¿ not just in the way they look ¿ for the O¿Hara women are tall and slim like the greyhounds they kept on the farm, but also their inner strength, and cheeky forthright manners. This allows for some typically humorous conversations between them, which gives a lovely bittersweet edge to this tale; not out and out funny like Doyle¿s Barrytown Trilogy (in which The Van just cracked me up), but it will make you smile, and that¿s a good thing for a book about dying written for teenagers to do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is touching and absolutely fantastic! I love it! It is very funny too.
Bwitchd3 More than 1 year ago
This book is inspired. Even though it’s set in Ireland and is written with Irish slang, it’s a wonderful and touching story. Each of these women are sparkling and alive, even Tansy. Emer is the type of grandmother that everyone wants to have, she’s cheeky and not afraid to have a laugh, even in the hospital. Although this book was written for young adults, it’s something that every woman, no matter her age, can enjoy. It would also be a brilliant way to spark interest in a child about her distant family.
ClaireFrith More than 1 year ago
This book is a tale about love and loss, and the connection between daughter and mother's. I found this book both funny yet tedious. I loved the cheekiness of Mary, and some of the witty lines that Doyle has included in the dialogue, yet I also found myself struggling to keep my attention focused. This is a ghost story, without being scary. Yet 12-year-old Mary and her mother Scarlett don't seem to be wary or worried that ghost's are real or that one has turned up on their doorstep - they just took it in their stride, which struck me as rather odd. After stealing Mary's dying grandmother from the hospital, they take a trip to the farm she grew up. Doyle has made this book fun and serious all at the same time, I even found myself reading with a (horrible) Irish accent! This book would be perfect for understanding death and the importance of family for a younger child - but adults would love it as well.