I don’t really know what to say about ‘About a Girl’ by Sarah McCarry because it was very different from what I expected, going into this story. I expected another story about two girls falling in love with some other sub-plots but that wasn’t what I got at all.
This is the story about Atalana who everyone just calls Tally. She doesn’t know her biological mother and instead was raised by friends of her mother’s, a gay male couple and her only sometimes gay aunt. Which brings me to point one of this review. From a diversity standpoint, this book could hardly do better. We have an established gay couple with people of colour. Then there is Tally’s best friend who is ftm transgender. The sexuality of Tally’s aunt is only hinted at but apparently she’s queer. And then, of course, you got Tally who falls madly in love with a mysterious girl.
What I had no idea about is the fact that this whole story is rooted in Greek mythology of which I don’t know a lot. So, I didn’t catch all the references and some place in the middle of the book I got a bit lost because it was difficult for me to appreciate what was going on. It got better towards the end though as the story unfolded.
In a way, the writing is both fascinating and infuriating as there are only three big parts that are separated and McCarry doesn’t do a lot of section breaks. It’s just chunks and chunks of text which makes it difficult to stop sometimes especially when you’re like me who prefers to read chapter by chapter; stopping just some place drives you nuts. Anyway. The writing also draws you in and you don’t really want to stop because it’s such a constant flow it’s great. You could say I’m feeling a bit ambivalent about it on a whole.
Even though the story wasn’t what I expected, it was still good but I also don’t feel like singing it’s praises. The beginning was rather meh for me and Tally came across very cold and detached. I feel like McCarry was trying to give her the Temperance Brennan treatment but it didn’t work so well with this 17-year old girl in my opinion.
And then there was this whole Shane business. Ugh, girl, get a grip on yourself. For me, it didn’t contribute much to the story and I’m pretty sure, McCarry could have found another way to bring Tally to drop everything in her life and go on a quest to find her father. Let’s just say, it wasn’t my favourite part of the story.
A similar thing goes for Tally’s foray into lesbianism. It is very one-sided and only a vehicle for the story.
I don’t really know what else to say on this. It was an interesting read but I wish I had had more knowledge on the Greek myths so that I could really have understood where the author was drawing parallels and such. Still a good and very diverse book.