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Frida, St Helen and St Katharine

Things A Bright Girl Can Do

Things a Bright Girl Can Do is set in 1914. It is about the Suffragettes and their struggle to get the vote. It has three main characters, Nell, May and Evelyn. These three characters are all helping in the fight for equal rights, but in different ways and from different places in society. Nell is quite poor, with a large family to be looked after. She works continually to help give money to her parents and is very hard-working. May is neither poor but nor rich. Her mother is a Suffragist who campaigns for women’s rights. May learns about the Suffragists from her mother and it is when she goes to a meeting where Miss Pankhurst, a Suffragette gives a talk, that she meets Nell. Evelyn is a rich girl who is seventeen years old. She lives with her large family and decides to become a Suffragette after her parents start making decisions she thinks are unfair. She starts to join in with the Suffragettes, doing harmless acts such as handing out leaflets and shouting out why women should have the vote. Then one day, she takes things too far.
This story is also about the three different people’s lives and how they were affected by the First World War. When the War breaks out the three girls all take it in different ways. May wants peace and is shocked to see so many people fighting. Nell wants England to win and is proud members of her family helped out. Evelyn dislikes the war and wants her friend, Teddy, not to have gone.
I thought that the people all stayed in character throughout the book and though some of their views changed it was gradual so the reader could follow and it was not a huge surprise. This meant you understood how their opinions changed and could easily see their personality.
Sally Nicholls, the author, chose her style in dialogue for Nell differently to the other characters because she and her family did not always make grammatical sense. This meant the reader could assume she was as not as well educated as May and Evelyn and their families so the reader could guess that her family was not as wealthy. Therefore, it was easier for the reader to see the contrast in their family backgrounds.
Though the plot was based on historical events, the reader did not know how those events would affect the characters. This gave the plot a sense of mystery as to what would happen next even though the reader knew the next big event.
The author did not use that much description of places but more description of people. This meant that it was not always clear what to imagine and so the reader was left guessing. Also, at times the story needed more depth.
However, the book’s plot was very serious in its storyline and needed to have a bigger variety of events rather than just continuously sad ideas, even though some of them were historical events. Also, as it is written as a children’s book it could have had fewer negative moments overall, because although it is meant to be historical there is a bad mood that seems always to be in the plot even when there are moments when the characters are happy. There always seemed to be another more gloomy event to come. In conclusion I would rate this book 5/10.

Posted on: 20th May 2019 at 08:46 am

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