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Book Review: Boy, Snow, Bird

Sort of. Mostly, i'm just using this space to archive some quotes.

This is a novel written by Helen Oyeyemi. Here's the back of the book plot synopsis:

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts looking, she believes, for beauty--the opposite of the life she's left behind in New York. She marries Arturo Whitman, a local widower, and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she'd become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy's daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African-Americans passing for white. And even as Boy, Snow, and Bird are divided, their estrangement is complicated by an insistent curiosity about one another. In seeking an understanding that is separate from the image each presents to the world, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Mirrors and identity are definitely significant in this story. An English major could prolly write up an interesting analysis of it. Me, i just read the book.

Some parts got a little crazy in a "are you high or did this book become a paranormal?" sort of way. The book is in first person, which was kinda annoying, but i got over it. The first half is from Boy's perspective. The second almost half is from her daughter Bird's perspective. And then for a very brief time, we're taken back to Boy's POV. In the end, nothing is actually resolved, so if you're like me and that sort of thing drives you nuts, you've been warned. I kept trying to find more pages i could flip to. Then i IM'd fnord12 in outrage over the entirely nutty ending.

But despite that, i did find the characters and the writing style to be interesting and wouldn't be opposed to reading more by this author.

And now, the quotes.

Boy about Mrs. Fletcher:

I thought she was terrific, and hoped she liked me, but she was clearly very precise in the allocation of her affections, so she probably didn't.

Boy about Webster:

I'd fasted before, so I knew how being hungry can make a girl get a little bit enigmatic. Webster's psychology was one short straw away from abnormal.

Boy about how creepy bride and groom cake toppers are:

Each tiny bride and groom had this beseeching smile painted onto their face. The kind of smile that suggested dark magic was afoot, a switch had been made, the couple leading the first dance were not who they claimed to be, and wouldn't someone please intervene?

When i read that one to fnord12, he pointed out that it was furthering the theme of identity. I was the one reading the book, but he was the one understanding the subtext based on random quotes i threw at him. All i got from reading this quote was "She's so right! Those cake toppers are creepy!". I told him this was why i hated English class.


I'm mean. Dad's warned me about it; I know the risk I run when I find fault with people more often than I look for something to appreciate. It's like having grit in your eye; you see less and less of the real person standing right in front of you and more and more of the grit in your eye.

Holy crap! Semi-colons!

I'm still confused about some things in the book in the "but what does it mean???" sort of way, but since fnord12 didn't read it (cause he's too busy working on his comics chronology project!) i'll prolly never know. *sigh*

By min | March 31, 2016, 8:34 AM | Boooooks | Link

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