Telling the story of three very different teenage girls, 'Things a Bright Girl Can Do' is about the fight for women's suffrage, standing up for your beliefs and love.
Evelyn is an upper-class young lady, destined to be married young and become a dutiful wife. Not for her the university education afforded to her brother, although Christopher doesn't seem to enjoy it.
Middle-class May lives with her out-spoken, Suffragette supporting mother. Being a Quaker, she has much to say about the impending war and the more extreme methods employed by the Suffragette movement.
Nell is an East End girl, living with her family in two rooms of chaos and extreme poverty. Excluded by her gender from many jobs which would help her support her family, she also is drawn to the Suffragette movement.
Three very different young ladies with their desire to be everything that they want to be and not be limited by the views of a male-dominated society. Sally Nicholls makes each a very convincing character and successfully merges their personal stories to create the whole. The book is rich in historical detail- about the early 1900s, about the fight for suffrage and about life on the home front during the war, particularly harsh for those with so little to begin with. There is much food for thought within the story- and much relevance to life today.
As well as the historical and political content of the book, 'Things a Bright Girl Can Do' is also about love and relationships. Two very different romances unfold during the story- that between Evelyn and Teddy and one between May and Nell. Evelyn realises that she does love Teddy in spite of the long term expectation that they will marry and not because of it and Nell and May develop a secret relationship, hidden from most in a society which would not acknowledge their love. Both relationships are well handled; both have to face challenges.
'Things a Bright Girl Can Do' is a great read about a very significant period of our history, told in an original and appealing way. Great for this significant year, it would make the perfect addition to any teen bookcase.
Things a Bright Girl Can Do Sally Nicholls
Anderson Press ISBN: 978-1783445257