Excerpt from A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Greyhound of a Girl

By Roddy Doyle

A Greyhound of a Girl
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: May 2012,
    208 pages.
    Paperback: Nov 2013,
    224 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

One

Mary O'Hara was walking up her street, to the house she lived in with her parents and her brothers. The school bus had dropped her at the corner, at the bottom of the hill. The street was long, straight, and quite steep, and there were huge old chestnut trees growing all along both sides. It was raining, but Mary wasn't getting very wet, because the leaves and branches were like a roof above her. Anyway, rain and getting wet were things that worried adults, but not Mary - or anyone else under the age of twenty-one. Mary was twelve. She'd be twelve for another eight months. Then she'd be what she already felt she was - a teenager.

She came home at the same time most days, and she usually came home with her best friend, Ava. But today was different, because Ava wasn't with Mary. Ava had moved to another part of Dublin the day before, with her family. Today, some of the neighbors looked out their windows and saw Mary, alone. They knew all about it, of course. These were people who looked out windows. They'd seen the removals lorry outside Ava's house. They'd seen Mary and Ava hug each other, and they'd seen Ava get into their car and follow the removals lorry.

As the car moved slowly up the street, they'd seen Mary wave, and run into her house. They might have heard the front door slam. They might have heard Mary's feet charging up the stairs, and the springs under Mary's mattress groan when she fell facedown on the bed. They probably didn't hear her crying, and they definitely didn't hear the softer sound of the bedsprings a little later when Mary realized that, although she was heartbroken, she was also starving. So she got up and went downstairs to the kitchen and ate until her face was stiff.

Today, Mary walked alone, up the hill. She was nearly home. There were just a few houses left before she got to hers. There was a gap between the trees for a while, so the raindrops fell on her. But she didn't notice them, or care.

Someone had once told her that people who'd had their leg cut off still felt the leg, even a long time after they'd lost it. They felt an itch and went to scratch, and remembered that there was no leg there. That was how Mary felt. She felt Ava walking beside her. She knew she wasn't, but she looked anyway - and that made it worse.

Mary knew: Ava was somewhere else in Dublin, only seven kilometers away. But if she'd been acting in a film or a play and she was told she had to cry, she'd have thought of Ava and crying would have been easy. Feeling angry and looking angry would have been easy too. Mary couldn't understand why people moved house. It was stupid. And she couldn't understand why parents - Ava's parents - said no when two friends - Mary and Ava - asked if it was okay if one of them - Ava - didn't move but, instead, lived with the other friend - Mary.

"You won't have to feed her if she lives with us," Mary had told Ava's mother the day before they'd moved. "It'll, like, save you a fortune."

"No."

"Especially with the recession and that."

"No."

"Why not?" Ava asked.

"Because you're our daughter and we love you."

"Then do the noble thing and let her stay," said Mary.

"If you, like, really, really love her. It's not funny."

"I know," said Ava's mother. "It's just so sweet."

Which was exactly the sort of stupid thing that adults said. They saw two best friends clinging to each other, wanting to die rather than be separated - and they said it was sweet.

"I suppose you think war and starvation are sweet too, like, do you?" said Mary.

"You're being a little bit rude, Mary," said Ava's mother. "Whatever," said Mary.

She stood at Ava's front door. Then she tried to slam it. But she couldn't. There was a thick rug in the hall, and it seemed to grab the bottom of the door. So she'd shouted it instead.

Excerpted from A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle. Copyright © 2012 by Roddy Doyle. Excerpted by permission of Harry N. Abrams Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Roddy Doyle

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  119Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson
  2.  171The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.