Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Boy, Snow, Bird
Author Helen Oyeyemi
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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.
Review:  I love this take on a fairy tale.  Helen Oyeyemi  knows how to craft a story into literature that can span time.  Although this story is based on Snow White, it's done in such a way that sets it in another time and adds a completely different concept and dynamic.  The bones of the story are recognizable, but it's written in such a manner that the old tale is subtle and fresh.  Boy, Snow, Bird, is a thought provoking piece of lit. that is classroom worthy, and perfect for a book club or group discussion.  It's thematically rich without being overdone.  It's a gem of genius and can be viewed as a serious work, or simply a good read.
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*ARC provided by Riverhead courtesy of Amazon Vine

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