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Kya, St Helen and St Katharine

Things A Bright Girl Can Do

The book is set between 1914 and 1918 focusing on the suffragette movement, the war and three very different main characters. Evelyn was 17, from a privileged background and very upset that she could not go to Oxford University like her older brother Kit. Evelyn rebelled by joining the suffragettes and dragging her friend ‘Teddy’ along. Teddy worships Evelyn and is a voice of reason. A lot of the book is about how the relationship between the two changes and grows. Evelyn gets sent to prison, gets very sick and misses Teddy. The war then starts and Teddy goes to the front and Evelyn gets to go to Oxford. Teddy is my favorite character as he is funny and supports Evelyn. I like this quote from Teddy and feel it describes the relationship between them ‘I feel like i’m unfolding, and i’m just wild to see what I’m going to unfold into’.

Another main character is May who lives with her mother who is a quaker pacifist, supporting the suffragettes. May is smart and always sticks to her opinion even if she is wrong and wants to change her mind. May meets Nell who is from a very poor background and the two start out as friends sharing views which leads to a lesbian affair. The author does not seem to spend enough time developing Nell, she just comes across as a bit of a joke (like Bert in Mary Poppins ‘cor blimey’). A lot of the story is about how the war impacts them and their families.

I thought that the book ended very abruptly, war ends, women get vote but not much detail about how the main characters lives unfold. I think the book was well written historically with many surprising facts. I think the main characters of May and Nell could have done with more development and a better ending. Overall I give the book 6/10.

Posted on: 23rd April 2019 at 09:44 am

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