In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


copyright date: September 2011 (2010 in UK)
primarily marketed for: intermediate readers (5th grade and up)

Growing up, I was familiar with Roddy Doyle.  My sister read his books for grown-ups and convinced me to watch a couple of her favorite movies, which were based on those books. 

Years ago, I discovered his hilariously clever book for younger readers, The Giggler Treatment, a story about creatures called Gigglers who place dog poop in the paths of adults who’ve done wrong. 

So, when I saw he had a new book out for young readers, I couldn’t wait to read it.  A Greyhound of a Girl is a book unlike any other I’ve read.  Roddy Doyle is a genius. 

Life is a bit of a struggle for the protagonist, twelve-year-old Mary O’Hara.  Her granny is dying and she lost her best friend when her family moved away.  Now, she has to walk home down the hill from the bus stop alone before heading home to join her mother on a visit to the hospital.  One day, on her lonely walk she meets Tansey.  Tansey’s old-fashioned appearance surprises Mary, but not so much as the fact that Tansey seems to know her.  It does not take Mary long to discover that Tansey is the ghost of her granny’s mother.

Through chats with Tansey, her granny, and her mother, Mary uncovers the story of her family’s past. She is charged with delivery of a message from Tansey to her granny and a wonderful journey through the memories of four generations of Irish women unfolds.

Roddy Doyle’s writing is delightful and his dialogue is just as clever and witty as it is in his lighter stories.  This is a story to read as much for the craft as for the story.    It is a short read and is sure to be worth every moment. 

Reading Threads:


  1. I really liked this one but am unsure of how the average 12 year old will do with it. Have to see.

  2. I've never heard of these books, Christy. They sound really interesting, a little like the David Almond books. I'll check them out!