X meets Y or Z: Myth as Norm Reinforcement in Girl Meets Boy

The Spectatorial

GirlMeetsBoy Cover image from wikipedia.org

Ali Smith’s masterpiece of a novella, Girl Meets Boy, is a love story—albeit not the one you’re probably thinking of, the one the clichéd title has deceived you into believing it is. The phrase, “girl meets boy”, is about finding the one person who is supposed to—destined to, even—wholly complement you in the heteronormative sense. And yet, while the novella does involve the so-called “happy ending” of a heterosexual couple, the heart of the narrative beats around the story between two female lovers: Anthea and Robin. Ostensibly then, the couple literally departs from the phrase completely, having girl meet girl. However, the brilliance of what Smith is doing here is perhaps more subtle. For while the text is emphatically not the restrictively heterosexual “girl meets boy”, “girl meets girl” does not simply take its place. Gaps prevail within this story, and Smith purposely leaves it…

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