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Book Review: "A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing" by Eimear McBride

1/5 - a concept without a form...

By Annie KapurPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

I remember reading my first Eimear McBride novel entitled The Lesser Bohemians and I cannot tell you how bored I was really. I decided that I'd lay off the post-modern stream of consciousness novel for a while and move on to reading stuff I actually enjoyed. I came across A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing whilst in university and did not actually read it from the library because of the blurb kind of putting me off. When I came across it again just a few days before this review is being written - I gave in and started to read. It didn't seem so bad at first. Please note, I said at first and not all the way through - because it wasn't all the way through.

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is about a young girl who is horribly sick and honestly, this I can get on board with. The concept of the book is absolutely brilliant. There is something really raw in exploring sickness that is sort of the same thing you love about the modern classic novel My Sister's Keeper or Saul Bellow's Ravelstein. Sickness, especially terminal sickness, has a quite intense study to it that I think was definitely present in this book. It just wasn't articulated very well.

There is nothing beautiful about Eimear McBride's writing. It's post-modernist and lazy, masquerading as profound and deep. If you want proper depth and post-modernism then you read Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds. Eimear McBride's work is basically what happens when a 16-year-old creative writing student listens to too much Morrissey and becomes overtly self-involved and spends their time analysing David Foster Wallace. A cliché of faux-depth which almost everyone you know finds annoying and stupid. It's a shame seeing as the concept of the book was so good and the ideas were definitely there. Her writing has always been a struggle of repetitive 'look at me, I'm not finishing this sentence which means I'm deep.' Or, 'look at the way I'm masquerading my inability to write properly as being post-modern.' Honestly, it's just tired at this point.

Do you think I'm being harsh? Well good. I remember when I read The Lesser Bohemians and a lecturer of mine read some of it too and told me it was 'lazy writing' with 'no attempt made at craft.' This cannot be said for all post-modern writing however. Look at James Joyce, or Virginia Woolf - these people really went into some depth. I fear Eimear McBride at this point is just trying to put herself on a pedastal that she does not deserve to be on.

Short, snappy syntax that gets overly repetitive and after a while, sounds simply a bit silly seems to be Eimear McBride's stronghold. Her attempt at the stream of consciousness is poor at best and relies heavily on these simple sentences that make up, usually, page after page of the novel. She becomes tiresome very quickly and, as a result, the words don't flow, the reader cannot get lost in the realms of the novel. There is nothing there to pull the reader in.

To conclude, I don't think I will read any more of Eimear McBride's work because I find it to be really boring, really bland and tasteless. Her writing is trying to be deep when in fact, a lot of the times it just sounds a bit cliché and dumb. Honestly, it was a great concept, a great idea and it was madly let down by the writing style, the attempts made at post-modernism and the writer's own inability to see that their writing will definitely lose the reader entirely.


About the Creator

Annie Kapur

175K+ Reads on Vocal

Film and Writing (M.A)

My New Twitter: @AnnieWithBooks

📍Birmingham, UK

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