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Things a Bright Girl Can Do

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Things a Bright Girl Can Do Reviews | Toppsta

Book Rating: 5 based on 4
4 Reviews
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Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

Things a Bright Girl Can Do Reviews | Toppsta

9781783446377
  • ISBN: 9781783446377
  • Pub Date: 7th September 2017
  • Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
  • Imprint: Andersen Press Ltd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 432

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6th January '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Things a Bright Girl Can Do 9781783446377
5 stars
This year marks the centenary of women being given the limited right to vote, although it wasn't until 1928 that women and men were given equal voting rights. How can we today truly understand the struggles that took place to secure these rights when the right to vote is just part of the landscape in which we live and it's just something that we take for granted. Luckily for us Sally Nicholl's has captured a slice of social history in the magnificent 'Things A Bright Girl Can Do.' She offers us a uncompromising insight into the lives of three very different young women who each play their part in campaigning for change. From the desperate poverty of the East End to the polite drawing room meetings, they all have to make sacrifices for change. But just how much are they willingly to give up in their fight to secure votes for women.
Evelyn, Nell and May all have very different stories to tell and each have their own individual frustrations and hardships to endure. Evelyn desire to be educated is seen as wasteful by her family when her destiny will inevitably be to get married and have children, her life is tightly controlled. Whilst Nell has on the face of it more freedoms to dress and live as she likes, the incredible poverty she faces is made worse by the lack of opportunities for her to work as a woman. As a pacifist who is brought up with a mother deeply involved in the Suffragist movement May's life is defined by her mothers values and beliefs despite how she may feel. All of their struggles are set against the harshness of the Great War and encapsulates the pain and difficulties for the women who are left behind to wait and mourn and try to hold their families together in the darkest of times.
It's definitely not a romanticised view of how the right to vote was achieved for woman, it's a honest and sometimes brutal account of the battle that took place. By seamlessly weaving the girls lives into history you feel like you are stepping back in time to see the world through their eyes. Sally has created these strong women who are realistically flawed and who you genuinely care about it. There are lots of observations that made me smile none more so than Nell bemoaning the lack of pockets in women's clothes, something that 100 years later is still irritatingly familiar. This is such a compelling and inspiring story, it's one of those books I want to put into people's hands and demand that they read it! With all of this taken into account this is a slightly older read than I would usually recommend, definitely one for KS3 and over.
2nd August '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Things a Bright Girl Can Do 9781783446377
5 stars
This book focuses on the lives of Evelynn, Nell and May with a split perspective throughout all for their varying points of view.

Evelynn admires the suffragettes and wishes to get involved with their campaigning only she realises her long time friend Teddy is more than a friend to her after all as he stands by through a trying time for her and later she him. She also desperately wants ro go to Oxford to stucy and believes she should be able to as her brother can.

May's mum is a campaigner for the suffaragette movement and is open minded as May befriends Nell a girl she is keen on having as a girlfriend though society may deem it wrong.

Nell comes from a large family where money is extremely tight and affording the bills and food is hard. She also feels more like she shouldve been born a boy and dresses so many are confused when they meet her. She likes May but is always on esge because of their financial differences.

As the war rages o ver the course of the novel we see the toll it takes on them all and as the families get parted from the men they love we know not all will return and for the characters themselves the girls lives will change dramatically due to the war.

This was a moving and enthralling book. It was so realistic and the tone of the novel in it's writing style was like the war was happening right now it makes you feel part of the movement of the time and each girl has such a different personality it feels individual and not all just girls wanting the same movement  for one set reason but multiple ones too.
2nd August '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Things a Bright Girl Can Do 9781783446377
5 stars
This book focuses on the lives of Evelynn, Nell and May with a split perspective throughout all for their varying points of view.

Evelynn admires the suffragettes and wishes to get involved with their campaigning only she realises her long time friend Teddy is more than a friend to her after all as he stands by through a trying time for her and later she him. She also desperately wants ro go to Oxford to stucy and believes she should be able to as her brother can.

May's mum is a campaigner for the suffaragette movement and is open minded as May befriends Nell a girl she is keen on having as a girlfriend though society may deem it wrong.

Nell comes from a large family where money is extremely tight and affording the bills and food is hard. She also feels more like she shouldve been born a boy and dresses so many are confused when they meet her. She likes May but is always on esge because of their financial differences.

As rhe war rages o er the course of the novel we see the toll it takes on them all and as the families get parted from the men they love we know not all will return and for the characters themselves the girls lives will change dramatically due to the war.

This was a moving and enthralling book. It was so realistic and the tone of the novel in it's writing style was like the war was happening right now
15th October '17
I read it to Peacehaven little Library Teens/YA aged 13 to 18
Things a Bright Girl Can Do 9781783446377
5 stars
This is a stunning book! Beautifully written and full of feminism and hope, it celebrates women's strength and diversity. The writing is filled with beautiful mirroring and echoing, showing the similarities and contrasts of the women's experiences during the war. Yet it doesn't shy away. It is brutally honest about the inequalities and the hardships they faced, whilst leaving the reader positive, hopeful and inspired by the suffrage movement. Just brilliant. This is a book that should be in every secondary school library. 
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About Sally Nicholls

Sally Nicholls grew up in Stockton-on-Tees, and after school, travelled the world, working for a period at a Red Cross hospital in Japan. Sally's first novel, Ways to Live Forever, won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and she has been shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Costa Children's Book Award. She lives in Oxford....

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