January 28, 2015


Today I am doing something a little different. This is a guest post, a review written by my sister-in-law Sara who you can find on goodreads here. Sara and I have a different taste in books, so I thought it would be fun to post some of her reviews for books I wouldn't read. More of a variety for people because not everyone is into YA!

 "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 a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.
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. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.
Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time." - goodreads

Sara rated this book 2 stars out of five

This review does have a spoiler in it!
I have put the spoiler in white text, highlight to read!

I can start by saying that this book was a pretty great disappointment for me. From the blurb on the inside cover of this book, I was expecting a new-age retelling of Snow White that integrated 1950's race agendas and a complex, in-depth story line. But the description of this novel blows it way out of proportion. Boy, Snow, Bird is the story of mainly one girl, Boy, who escapes her father to locate to a new town and restart her life. 

The beginning of this novel makes it seem as though it has great potential, which very quickly falls through. After reading the first 100 pages not noticing how far into the book I was, I was taken aback by the fact that I was a third done the book and I had no ties nor feelings for any of the characters whatsoever. Each character introduced is rushed and bland. Their lives seem dull, without personality or love. I really noticed this when Boy marries Arturo and I realized that I barley even noticed him as a relevant character, having no sense of his character nor their relationship. I felt no sense of connection between the couple, actually no sense of connection between any character or the characters themselves until part 2. 

Part 2, written from the perspective of Bird, Boy and Arturos daughter, included the only few chapters I really connected with. And even by then, it was only the first few chapters. Whereas the rest of Part 2 served as nothing more than an info dump by means of letters between Snow and Bird. 
Lastly, my biggest problem with this book: the ending. As I read this book I was almost tricked into thinking I'd really like it. It seemed interesting, especially with all the mirror mystery happening and lets face it, I'm kind of a sucker for all the symbolism. But, all the while thinking I liked this book, I was also waiting for something big to happen. A climax. An incident. An explanation. Anything. Once I got the the last sentence of the book, I knew I was tricked into liking it, and that it was actually an utter disappointment. As a last grasp, I thought for sure the arrival and search for information about Boys father was going to be some brilliant moment that explained everything. Instead, it just lessened the acuity of the novel and shifted focus to something totally different than what the entire book was about. 

Spoiler! I have put the text in white, HIGHLIGHT to read.
[[What I got was a jumbled up mess about some transgendered side story that at first, I thought would maybe clear up some of the mirror stuff that occurred throughout the book, but really it was just another piece of information that I really didn't need.]]

I'm assuming that the ending of this book is to leave it open for a sequel, which I have mixed feelings about. It's almost as though Oyeyemi lost her way half way through this book and didn't know where to go with it, so took the easy way out and ended it on a cliff just waiting to be finished. But, even knowing this I was generally very disappointed in this book. Though I didn't absolutely hate reading this book and parts of it were worth my while, the rest was utter chaos and a sheer disappointment. I would highly recommend you don't waste your time on this book, unless an all-encompassing sequel arrives to finish what Boy, Snow, Bird started

Helen Oyeyemi is a British novelist and playwright. She was born in Nigeria in 1984 and raised in London. She wrote her widely acclaimed first novel, The Icarus Girl, before her nineteenth birthday; she graduated from Cambridge University in 2006, where she studied social and political sciences. In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best Of Young British Novelists list.
- goodreads.

Thank you Sara for letting me use this review for my blog. Keep an eye out for more guest reviews in the future!

1 comment

  1. I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't work for me either. Here's the link to my review. http://www.heatherpearson.com/2014/04/boy-snow-bird-by-helen-oyeyemi.html