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Review: "Boy, Snow, Bird," by Helen Oyeyemi

Three names of characters comprise the title of this interesting, well- written novel. My measured review found this book to be easily readable with the author's easy play of sentences and inventive metaphors and phrasing to be extremely appealing. In its most basic attraction, the writing was quite superb. More a character study then a plot driven tale, the intersecting lives of these three related women was compelling and thought-provoking. Quirky, individualistic personalities resounded off the page. Boy and Bird dominate, with Snow, perhaps due to her absence throughout most of the book coming across as the least fleshed-out character. They were all interesting, attractive and unique. Certainly, the book deals with racism, the culture of prejudice, and the issue of "passing" as white as essential, but not predominant, themes. These themes are essential to the "concept" of the book and are the foundation for much of its story. Other themes, especially one of child abuse and/or neglect were primary. But, at its most essential and important, it is a character and family sketch. How individuals live their lives intra- personally in order to survive, and in a manner, thrive.At times I had a bit of work to do keeping the secondary characters straight, but that may have been due to the fact that I did not pour through the book, but read it in little grasps, then putting it down for a few days at a time. The last ten pages are such a surprise and such an eye-opener that it changed the book totally, not for the worse, just to challenge the reader and my framework regarding the characters within the story. To say that it was almost shocking and brought in an atmosphere of mystery, modernism and upset would not be an understatement.In every respect this is a book well worth spending time with. The colorful characters, the superb use of language and unique writing, along with an intriguing story that played out most unexpectedly was what novel writing should and can be.

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