Mar 24, 2014

Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi

So I guess modern retellings of fairy tales is a thing now, like how Hollywood in the 90s and 00s had a thing with retelling Shakespeare plays. And if my love of The Lunar Chronicles and this positively delicious retelling of Snow White are any indication, I am fully on board with this trend. Boy is our first narrator, a young white woman in her early twenties who escapes her abusive father and hides out in small town New England. Snow is her stepdaughter, breathtakingly beautiful and innocent at seven years old, whom Boy sends away to live with an aunt in Boston. Bird is Boy's daughter, born with unmistakable black features, thus revealing Boy's husband's family to be black Southerners passing as white. You'd think that would be plenty of drama, but the action of "Boy, Snow, Bird" takes place in the unique minds of Boy and Bird. The Snow White references are clear - Boy sometimes catches herself smiling at her own reflection - but in the end, the story is about women coming together for each others' sake. The writing is fantastic, very funny at times and deeply moving. Oyeyemi is a formidable talent, and I'd love to read more of her work in the future.

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