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.
©2014 Helen Oyeyemi (P)2014 Recorded Books
I can only guess that the audio version is more entertaining than the print due to the quality of voice performance versus silently reading.
The parallels to Snow White and the subtlety of language.
I loved the New York accents!
There were some parts that I laughed out loud at, yes.
I loved that Boy's father was named The Ratcatcher. It was a fun book to read, but there are so many things to appreciate about the literature and craft of writing that it was not just pleasure reading.
My recommendation would be to read this book by the page as opposed to an audiobook. I had a hard time following the story once it branched off in the middle section in interactions between Bird and Snow. Overall, I believe the theme is that family secrets are dangerous and can destroy healthy relationships but I wish the author had gotten to the point sooner because I felt the story just dragged on and on.
I would certainly listen again to see if I missed any clues.
The end of part I. I didn't see that coming.
Whomever assumed the voice of Bird - I couldn't tell if she was attempting to portray a small child, a teenager, or an adult. Maybe that's partly due to the rather weak (relatively speaking) writing during this section, but the performance was rather weak.
No extreme reactions. It just kept me interested.
I'm torn about rating this book because of the inconsistency in both writing and narration. Boy is the mother, Snow is the step daughter and Bird is the daughter. Part 1 (Susan Bennett), mostly about Boy, is amazingly written and Bennett's narration is exceptional. Part 2 (Carra Patterson) is about Snow and Bird and not sure what else is going on there. Part 2 didn't seem to fit to me, not as compelling and the narration was so-so at best. Part 3 (Susan Bennett) is back to Boy, and includes Snow and Bird. Again the writing is not as exceptional as Part 1, but the twist at the end and the understanding that comes over Boy makes up for it. I highly recommend it assuming you don't mind skimming through Part 2.
As long as I have my Audible, I'm content.
This was good! I agree with other reviewers that the story lags in the middle, but it's worth sticking with it, even skimming or skipping that middle section once Snow and Bird start sharing their stories. But once Boy starts narrating again, listen! There are some really unique lines in this book that make you remember why you read and why you love that playing with words. I won't quote them here and ruin it for you. It's fun to hear them and do that aural double take;-) The story is about identity, race, beauty, and motherhood and is told in a matter of fact, kind of emotionless way, but that only adds to its impact. Narration was spot on!
Quit listening at chapter 6. The story just was not flowing for me. Life is too short for books that don't have great language/writing or a great story. This book had neither for me so I quit listening
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
Very creative story that examines the heck out of American life without preaching (how do authors do that?): race, beauty and family. Well written and thought provoking. Weird characters. The audio jars with the two different voices but I liked it, well done. It's out on paperback, so if you've missed this one, it's worthy as a beach read and listen.
African Diaspora Literary Fiction
Very imaginative of the author to envision the back story of a "wicked" stepmother. It is hard to review this book without giving away the plot, so suffice it to say this was a very interesting story. The characters were well developed and the plot fairly well paced. And there were several plot twists that induced a little jaw dropping.
I enjoyed the book so much I read reviews and interviews with the author which all made me want to read more by her. I highly recommend this book.
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