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 by Roddy Doyle X
A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2012, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2013, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Slam!"

And she'd stormed off to her own house, where the slamming was easier.

"That's a wet one."

Someone had just spoken to Mary. But she couldn't see anyone. She was alone on the street, just outside her house. Then she saw the woman.

She must have been behind one of the trees, Mary thought.

The woman was old. But, actually, she wasn't. Mary knew what it was, why the woman seemed old. She was oldfashioned. She was wearing a dress that looked like it came from an old film, one of those films her mother always cried at. She looked like a woman who milked cows and threw hay with a pitchfork. She was even wearing big boots with fat laces.

A bird above them must have flown away quickly, because the leaves shook and dropped loads of water on to their heads. Mary laughed - she felt the raindrops this time - but the woman didn't seem to notice. Nothing about her was wet. But -

"It's a wet one, all right," she said. "Did you get loads of homework, did you?"

"The usual," said Mary.

"What's the usual when it's at home?"

Mary laughed again. The woman sounded like her grandmother. But, then, that made her sad, and angry again. She was going to cry - she thought she was.

"What's wrong with you?" said the woman.

"My granny's not well," said Mary.

"Sure, I know," said the woman.

"Well, why did you ask, then?" said Mary.

"God, you're a rip, all right."

"What does that mean?"

"You're a cheeky young lady," said the woman.

"Everyone says that," said Mary. "That I'm cheeky. But I'm not. I'm just honest."

"Good girl yourself."

Mary looked at the woman again. She wasn't old at all. She looked younger than Mary's mother, although it was hard to tell with adults what age they were. Mary was sure she'd never seen this woman before.

Never talk to strangers, she'd always been told.

"But that's stupid," she'd said, a few years ago. "Why is it stupid?" her mother asked.

"Did you know Dad when you met him?" said Mary.

"No."

"So he was a stranger."

"But - "

"And you spoke to him," said Mary. "So if, like, nobody spoke to strangers, nobody would meet and get married and the human race would, like, cease to exist."

"But your dad wasn't a stranger."

"Yes, he was. He must have been."

"He wasn't strange," said her mother. "He was nice."

"Nice?" said Mary. "The nice fellas are the ones you should be worried about."

Her mother laughed.

"What's so funny?" said Mary.

"Who told you that?"

"Granny."

"I should have known," said her mother. "Well, never mind your granny."

"Don't talk to strangers, never mind your granny," said Mary. "I'll have no one left to talk to."

"But you know what I mean," said her mother.

"About strangers?"

"Yes."

"Don't worry," said Mary. "I won't talk to any."

But she did - now.

"How do you know about my granny?" she asked the woman.

"Ah, sure, I just do," said the woman. She stood back, and shimmered - kind of - as if she were stepping behind a sheet of clear plastic.

"It's life," she said - and she was solid again, and smiling.

But Mary was a bit scared, and cold.

"I have to go," she said.

"Right, so," said the woman.

She didn't step out of the way. She didn't seem to move at all. But, even so, she must have, because she wasn't in front of Mary anymore.

Mary walked quickly to her gate. She heard the woman behind her.

"Do one small thing for me, Mary."

Mary turned.

"Tell your granny it'll all be grand," said the woman - she was still smiling.

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

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Gateway to the Moon
    Gateway to the Moon
    by Mary Morris
    Miguel Torres is a teenager living in Entrada de la Luna, a poverty-stricken dot on the New Mexico ...
  • Book Jacket: New World, Inc.
    New World, Inc.
    by Simon Targett, John Butman
    When we think about the founding of America, we typically envision Pilgrims in black garb and boxy ...
  • Book Jacket: New World, Inc.
    New World, Inc.
    by Simon Targett, John Butman
    When we think about the founding of America, we typically envision Pilgrims in black garb and boxy ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ensemble
    The Ensemble
    by Aja Gabel
    In May 1994, the members of the Van Ness String Quartet are completing their final graduate recital ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Harbor of Spies by Robin Lloyd

A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Comedown

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin

A blistering dark comedy that explores delineating lines of race, class, religion, and time.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.