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Boy, Snow, Bird | [Helen Oyeyemi]

Boy, Snow, Bird

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (188 )
5 star
 (49)
4 star
 (65)
3 star
 (51)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (6)
Overall
3.6 (165 )
5 star
 (41)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (8)
Story
4.0 (165 )
5 star
 (61)
4 star
 (65)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    M. Barbera 04-25-14
    M. Barbera 04-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "For Literary Lovers"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Boy, Snow, Bird to be better than the print version?

    I can only guess that the audio version is more entertaining than the print due to the quality of voice performance versus silently reading.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The parallels to Snow White and the subtlety of language.


    What about Susan Bennett and Carra Patterson ’s performance did you like?

    I loved the New York accents!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There were some parts that I laughed out loud at, yes.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 06-02-15
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 06-02-15 Member Since 2008

    Lawyer, reader, writer, performer. Just love listening to books and talking about it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    273
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    465
    128
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Creative and Worthwhile"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Washington, DC, United States 01-13-15
    Kathleen Washington, DC, United States 01-13-15 Member Since 2011

    African Diaspora Literary Fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow!"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Atlanta, GA 03-29-14
    Amazon Customer Atlanta, GA 03-29-14 Member Since 2003

    ShootingFish

    HELPFUL VOTES
    205
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    416
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    21
    14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Part 1 excellent, Part 2 so-so, Part 3 very good"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Charlotte, MI, United States 08-01-15
    Kindle Customer Charlotte, MI, United States 08-01-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful surprise read!"

    I went into this book knowing very little about it. I heard Helen Oyeyemi giving an interview on Reading Lives podcast and thought I'd check out a book by her. I was blown away! I loves this book. I have it on Kindle and Audible. In both forms, it is wonderful. The readers are fantastic and the story is amazing. I loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. G. 05-29-15
    S. G. 05-29-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Read the book, skip the audio version"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Latoya 05-29-15
    Latoya 05-29-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting "

    It varies from extremely slow to what just happened? OMG! Took me a little longer than
    usual to finish

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aja 01-25-15
    Aja 01-25-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Masking the truth"

    Interesting take on Snow White! The twist at the end was awesome! I would have not guessed that about the Rat Catcher! The whole glorifying of white skin is something that still plagues society today! If I would have red this book the traditional way, I'm not sure I would have been able to finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon Perdue 01-04-15
    Jon Perdue 01-04-15 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loses steam in the Middle."
    Would you listen to Boy, Snow, Bird again? Why?

    I would certainly listen again to see if I missed any clues.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Boy, Snow, Bird?

    The end of part I. I didn't see that coming.


    What aspect of Susan Bennett and Carra Patterson ’s performance would you have changed?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reactions. It just kept me interested.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly 10-28-14
    Beverly 10-28-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I loved the first half. Only."
    What was most disappointing about Helen Oyeyemi’s story?

    The section narrated by Bird was too juvenile. The ending was abrupt.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Loved the performance by the narrator of boy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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