This month's read is a charming little book about first love and identity. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith takes a story that you think you know and completely spins it on its head. Ali Smith blurs the lines between genders from the very first sentence - 'Let me tell you about when I was a girl, our grandfather says'. Right from the get go you're left with so many questions. Girl Meets Boy is rich, unpredictable, funny and moving.
Set in Scotland, Girl Meets Boy is told from the point of view of two very different sisters - Anthea and Imogen. Anthea is beautiful, free spirited, quick witted and clever while Imogen (Midge) is desperate to succeed, serious and very eager to please. Midge works at a bottled water company called Pure, who plan to dominate the world, and she does her best to work her way up the rankings despite being surround by very sexist men. Midge manages to get Anthea a work experience position at Pure but she doesn't have the same work ethic as Midge and ends up running off with the eco warrior, Robin, who vandalises Pure's building instead. Initially Anthea mistakes the stunning Robin for a boy, but after falling for Robin she is left questioning her sexuality and identity while Midge can't stop thinking about the consequences of her sister being 'a gay'.
Girl Meets Boy is Ali Smith's interpretation of the story of Iphis, in Ovid's Metamorphosis. The girl who was brought up as a boy to avoid her death, as her father says they can't afford a daughter, and who appeals to the gods on the day of her wedding to transform her into a boy so she can make her future wife happy. It's such an interesting concept to take a myth and recreate it for the modern day. I think it is a story that was way before its time and Ali Smith's novel is about the kind of fluidity that cannot be bottled or sold, no matter how hard Pure are trying to do that.
I love the way the book is written so much. Ali Smith really puts you inside the heads of the characters and we can really see their minds working. Especially Imogen's when she finds out about Anthea and Robin's relationship. Ali Smith's writing is a dream to read and she really captures what it feels like to fall in love for the first time. She makes everything seem so real yet magical and I'm pretty sure it is something that everybody can relate to in one way or another. I also love the political ideas behind each character, they really give this short book some more depth and make it very inspiring to read.
Do give this book a read, it's only short but it packs a punch and it's messages about identity, women's rights and first love are so relevant to today. What have you been reading this month?