ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abigail Dean is a British author. Dean was born in Manchester. Girl A is Dean’s debut novel. It was published in 2021.
Dean is a lawyer and works for Google. She lives in South London.
Girl A is the story of Alexandra ‘Lex’ Gracie, the survivor of a traumatic childhood after her parents started their religious group and confined Alexandra and her siblings to their house.
Lex eventually manages to escape the prison and report her parents to the authorities. As the first to be rescued, she is named Girl A in the records. The Gracie siblings are eventually separated as social services place them in different families.
Now a successful lawyer, Lex finds out about her mother’s demise in prison. Lex had never made any attempts to meet her nor had she written back to her letters. She just couldn’t bring herself to forgive her parents for their abusive behavior. Surprisingly, her mother had made her the executor of her will. As a result, Lex and her siblings inherit their parents’ house.
Lex decides to create something beautiful and meaningful at that house of horror. For that, she must reconnect with her six siblings and relive the trauma of the past. While she is somewhat close to her sister, Evie, for they both shared a room during their confinement, she doesn’t have a very straightforward relationship with her other siblings. Everyone comes with their own set of ideas and priorities, and reconciling them proves to be more challenging than Lex imagined.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT GIRL A
Girl A is a mystery novel with an emotional twist. The entire plot unfolds rather dramatically. Each chapter gives a glimpse into what had transpired, without ever fully disclosing the events in detail. This keeps the readers engaged to the very end.
Another highlight of Girl A is that the author doesn’t dwell much upon the abuse itself, but rather on the trauma that Lex Gracie went through after her release. Each of the siblings dealt with the torture and its aftermath differently. All in all, the book is a fresh approach to storytelling.
The story jumps between different timeless, though that never impedes the flow of the narrative. Since the narration is from Lex’s perspective, her siblings’ take on her distress is her own point of view. It is Girl A’s story, and everyone else is just a side character. Every event is Lex’s recollection and adds to the mystery element of the story.
Readers are bound to go through a whirlpool of emotion. Survivors of any sort of abuse may find the book especially relatable.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT GIRL A
Some segments of the book are pretty slow and monotonous when compared to the overall pace of the book.
In the first bad year we talked only of escape. This was in the Binding Days, when we were only restrained at night, and gently, with soft, white materials.
He disappeared, and a bright light flooded the aisle. Relief rushed through her: foolish, to be afraid of the dark.
Ameya would wholeheartedly recommend Girl A to everyone. An out-and-out page-turner, the book is a poignant reminder of how childhood trauma leaves lasting wounds on a person’s psyche.
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A proverbial bookworm, Anusuya is always hungry for new stories and adventures.