Book Review Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi [Review]

This book is really good and it further cements Helen Oyeyemi as a talented and brilliant writer.

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Boy, Snow, Bird begins with Boy, a motherless beautiful girl who flees her abusive father’s brutality and high-handedness, and leaves New York City for a small town of Flax Hill in Massachusetts.

In Flax Hill Boy meets Arturo Whitman, a widowed historian turned master jeweller, and father of a young girl, Snow. Although she is not sure if she loves, him, the two get married and Boy becomes Snow's stepmother. Boy and Arturo eventually have another daughter, Bird whose birth revealed the Whitmans as light skinned blacks passing off as white. After Bird was born, Boy sent Snow away to live with her aunt without getting in touch with her which made her seem like a wicked stepmother.

The book’s curious title is a compilation of the names of three unique women: Boy, who escapes from her abusive rat-catcher father to settle in a New England town called Flax Hill; her strikingly attractive and widely treasured stepdaughter Snow; and the daughter she conceives with Snow’s father Arturo, named Bird.

The first and second part of this book was engrossing and interesting, I particularly enjoyed the letters exchanged between snow and bird and somehow, the book was even more amazing with this. 

However, I disliked the last part of the book, the rat catcher (Boy’s father) reveal did not make any sense. And I mean NO SENSE. It is just completely absurd to just introduce a transgender story line at a time when the story was really making a lot of sense. Making boy’s father into a radical lesbian that was raped and the deception by pretending to be a man was just a No No for me, that part was just uninteresting and too superficial, and it took away from the book's strengths. I think ending with that part is ridiculous.

And then suddenly Boy thinks there's the potential for reunion and putting things back together with her father? So, is the author trying to say that abusive fathers can redeem themselves/be pitied if they are be trans men who are rape survivors? O

However, I also think since the book was divided into three parts, which seems perfect since it reflects the title. But two parts are told from Boy’s point of view, and one from Bird’s, which is unfair since it made Snow seem unimportant. Snow’s description and thoughts would have been interesting too.

Nevertheless, this book is really good and it further cements Helen Oyeyemi as a talented and brilliant writer.

Rating: 3/5

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