Back in April, I discovered Helen Oyeyemi and her haunting voice and vowed to read all of her books. Now, as we approach Memorial Day weekend, I’ve just finished four out of five of her novels with Boy, Snow, Bird.
BSB is a retelling of Snow White in 1950s America taking place somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon line. Oyeyemi tackles themes of race, ethnicity, passing and complicated family dynamics that keep you wanting more even after you finish the last page.
With three generation’s of female protagonists, BSB opens with Boy Novak in 1930s Manhattan looking for a way out of her domestic violent home. She eventually escapes after a dangerous bout with her father via bus to a quaint town outside the city limits. There she meets Arturo’s daughter, Snow, who’s precious skin “as white as snow” is adored by all. But when Boy marries Arturo and has a daughter of her own named Bird, Snow is sent away and what happens next draws the reader into the mysteries of this sleepy town.
My only frustrations with this book is that I was left wanting more. Not in the sense of, “Oh I’m sad this book is over. It was so good I want more.” It was more like, “WTF, it’s over? But what about x and y and z?!”
Next up: Mr. Fox.