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Fight Like A Girl by Sheena Kamal - Review

Thursday, June 29, 2023

My friend Lucinda gave me this book in April, thinking I would like it, and she was right, because I do! She gave me four proof copies of books, all of which I'm excited to get to, so I finally picked this up last week. I've been in a bit of a reading slump recently which I find depressing; I'm hoping to get back on an even keel soon! But I've read read over fifty books before the end of June so I'm still hoping I can make it to a hundred again by the end of 2023!

So this book is set in Toronto and the protagonist is Trisha. She's seventeen and she does Muay Thai boxing. She trains hard and has won competitions before. She lives with her Ma, next door to Pammy and Christopher, who is the same age as Trisha. She calls him Columbus and generally finds him annoying. 

Trisha's family is Trinidadian Indian. Her dad still lives in Trinidad, but every few months he comes to stay with  Trisha and her Ma. He is physically abusive towards Ma and Trisha hates him. However, he then dies - the very beginning of the book is his funeral. I don't want to give anything away about that because I found it genuinely shocking and a brilliant part of the book. 

However, when Trisha's dad has died, it isn't long before Ma starts bringing around another man, Ravi. Trisha hates him, too. But he starts acting weird, and so does Ma. She's keeping secrets from Trisha, and she's violent towards her too (this has always been the case, which Trisha seems to accept as just normal between mothers and daughters, but it seems like it ramps up a level too). Trisha reads part of a book about a soucouyant, a Caribbean folklore creature that behaves a little bit like a vampire. Everything sort of adds up, but her mother can't really be one of those, can she?

I liked how the book skated a thin line between reality and fantasy, between this life and fantacism. I love that, and I think this did it really well. There's several points where the reader is not sure what is real, just as Trisha is not sure what is real. I liked the stuff in the gym and the romance, both of which give Trisha something else to concentrate on. I would definitely read something else by the same author and am giving this four out of five! 

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