This is an excerpt. Click here for the full review.
I have mixed feelings about Boy, Snow, Bird. But I do have to say that my opinion sways heavily toward the positive! I’ve never read anything by Oyeyemi before, though Mr Fox has been on my book depository wishlist for a while now, and I found her writing style to mesh really well with my tastes.
That’s a little bit of a weird thing to say, and I realize that. I’ll say it in a different way that might be more relatable: this book definitely had the potential to become one of my favorites. I really thought that’s where it was heading – Oyeyemi really knows how to write.
Boy, Snow, Bird is, among other things, a historical narrative that deeply explores race, discrimination, and passing. These elements also help solidify the book’s connections to the Snow White fairy tale. The beginning of the book is narrated by a blonde white woman named Boy, so these elements of the plot are introduced with a light emphasis through her, but they become a huge focus later on. I thought this was an interesting way to draw in the common reader, who may not have picked up this book if it were marketed differently.
Through Boy, the reader develops empathy and then when her life gets tangled in racial discourse, there’s more outrage than would have been there with a POC narrator.