[Book Review] Boy, Snow, Bird

Boy, Snow, Bird / Helen Oyeyemi

I tore through this book and then took quite some time to attempt to process it.  In the end I think the best that I can do is to recommend reading this book.

The story could be historical fiction, it could be fantasy, but I think classifying it as one thing is limiting.  It starts in 1953 and within a fairy tale laced framework explores race, gender, and the things people didn't talk about except behind closed doors.  With a step-daughter named Snow and the focus on aesthetics, the connection to Snow White is easy to make, but it's not as simple as a re-telling of that well known story.

I'm not used to reading stories that tackle the issue of racism so close to where I live, and I think that's unfortunate.  I live in a region with a reputation for being progressive, but sometimes that just means prejudice is better hidden.

This exquisite book is definitely worth reading.

Discussion Fodder
  • What fairy tale elements did you notice in the story?  How do they effect the plot and narration?
  • Is Boy Novak an "evil stepmother" (or is someone else)?  What do you think of her choices and outlook on life?  What roles does appearance (and appearances) play in her life?
  • What do you make of the Whitman clan?  Their takes on race and passing?  
  • What do you think about Arturo and his jewelry?
  • How is race discussed in this book?
  • What do you make of Snow?  Of Bird?
  • Mirrors play a prominent role in both this book and in fairy tales.  What role(s) do they play here?
  • Is the Rat Catcher "under a curse"?  Clearly his life has been shaped by trauma, but were the curse to be broken, would the Rat Catcher remain Boy's father or transform into her mother?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Queerbrarian

ONCE BROKEN FAITH - Q&A with Seanan McGuire + Giveaway!

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the Read - Book 5, Chapter 10