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Tabitha, St Helen and St Katharine

Things A Bright Girl Can Do

Set in the Edwardian era, Things a Bright Girl Can Do is about three girls fighting for the right to vote. Even though all three are either suffragists or suffragettes, they are all from very different backgrounds. Evelyn is clever and from a rich family, but her parents will not allow her to apply for Oxford. May also fiercely campaigns for suffrage, but she goes about it as a suffragist- in a non- violent manner. Nell comes from a large family in the East End of London, and has grown up in hardship.
The plot was very well-constructed, and have three different perspectives worked very well. Having different perspectives meant that the reader is never bored, as there was usually perspective per chapter. The author was definitely in control. The events that occurred were believable within the limits set by the subject of the book, as they were also mainly historically accurate.
The three main characters- Evelyn, May and Nell- were all from different backgrounds, and therefore have different views and opinions on matters, which made the book very interesting. The characters acted as you would expect them to, considering their backgrounds and the events they have to face, but not entirely in a predictable way- they had distinctive personalities as well. Most of the characters changed as an effect of the war. Teddy is an example, as after returning from war, he behaves very differently- he insists on sending parcels off to soldiers still fighting, experiences nightmares about the war, and most significantly, his sketches are mainly of the war, and soldiers, even though he is with Evelyn, whereas he used to draw her most of the time. As the reader, this is very sad, but shows what the war does to the characters effectively.
The author successfully portrayed the strong feelings of passion and loss throughout the book. There was more narrative than dialogue, but this was effective when the characters were alone. the sentences varied from long to short, and the style was quite descriptive.
I have read lots of fiction books set at the time of the Suffragettes, but they mostly depicted it as very romantic, but Things a Bright Girl Can Do showed it far more accurately- the characters experienced true hardships, like the hunger strike in prison, and protesting by facing bankruptcy. Although books about the war that I have read showed what it was like for the soldiers fighting, none really went into detail about what it was like for the women, children and others who could not fight, unlike Things a Bright Girl Can Do. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would rate it ten out of ten.

Posted on: 3rd June 2019 at 09:28 am

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