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Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2017
Narrator: Samia Mounts
Publisher: Macmillan Audio⎮2016
4.75★ Audiobook⎮ Listening to If I Was Your Girl was an incredibly emotional experience. Meredith Russo did an amazing job of creating an empathic character in Amanda. Russo expanded on that creation in the author’s note, explaining the liberties she felt it necessary to take in order to allow a larger audience to more easily connect with Amanda. Side note: It feels odd to refer to the people in this novel as “characters” because they all felt so realistic.
From a psychological standpoint, those liberties make perfect sense. Russo’s message is one of commonality. She appeals to the universally humanistic qualities in every reader. There were times when I would forget that Amanda was trans and just become immersed in the details of her life.
From the very beginning, I felt for Amanda. I felt her highs, her lows and everything in between. In that respect, I connected with Amanda’s father more than any one else. I got where he was coming from with wanting to protect Amanda, but not knowing how. I imagine that is a feeling that every parent or guardian experiences at some point.
In a broader sense, I also felt extremely protective of Amanda. Gosh, she was just such a beautiful and pure character that I couldn’t help but want to protect her. As a reader, I was constantly on edge waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was wonderful to see her so happy and well-adjusted in her new life, but I could scarcely enjoy it for fear of what would come next. I imagine that to be a fraction of what her parents must have felt.
If I Was Your Girl is not a story I will be forgetting soon, if ever. Russo’s writing is heartbreakingly poignant, emotive, and gripping. Not usually one to be overcome with emotion, I nearly succumbed to tears while listening to this in public. Nevertheless, If I Was Your Girl was still lighter than I had anticipated. Russo allows the reader to experience the many nuances of Amanda’s life, positive and negative. If I Was Your Girl was as beautiful and hope-filled as it was heart-wrenching. It was very easy to follow along with and hard to put down. If I Was Your Girl is the type of story that stays with you long after you’ve finished it.
Narration review: Samia Mounts deserves the slowest of claps for her performance in If I Was Your Girl. She had a beautiful southern accent that enhanced Amanda’s softness. Her narration was imbued with so much emotion that it evoked similar feelings in me as a listener. Sort of like how you can be so in tune with someone that you begin to tear up as soon as they do. During one of the most emotional passages in If I Was Your Girl, I swear it sounded as if Samia was choking back tears while narrating. If so, I 100% do not blame her. Mounts was a huge asset to this audiobook. ♣︎