Hi, world. I read this book probably at least a month ago now and wanted to wait to review it because 1. It's not yet out in paperback, and I want you to actually read it, not just get dissuaded by the price tag, and 2. I thought I could find a nice movie to pair it with and chat about. But guess what? I'm going for it. Right now. In Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi we meet a girl named Boy, a victim of child abuse who escapes the tyranny of her father in New York City and literally does the thing where she buys a ticket to the last destination on the bus line. She ends up in Pennsylvania. There, she finds a place to live, a few random jobs, and eventually a husband. Along the way, we get to know one of the best protagonists I've ever known. With dry wit and snarky understated cynicism, the relationship between Boy's internal monologue and external dialogue is perfect and hilarious, though often the subject matter is in no way comical.
Set in the 1950's, this meandering story eventually brings us to both Snow and Bird, Boy's stepdaughter and daughter. She expertly spins these three women's points of view into a dialogue of family and race and gender issues.
Not only are the characters incredibly magnetic but Oyeyemi's use of sparse magical realism floored me. Near the end of the book there's this part where Bird talks of conversing with spiders, and it's like, yeah. That makes sense. Of course you do.
Can you guess what classic fairytale the novel is a retelling of? Snow White. The most fun aspect of this book is looking back after having finished and trying to marry its pieces to those of the original.
I loved this book. Read it. Right now it's still in hardcover, as I mentioned, and is $27.95. The paperback will be released March 3, and I advise you to mark your calendars!
In the "Bookends" section of the New York Times Book Review, James Parker and Anna Holmes are asked "Should book reviewing be considered a public service, or an art?" And they both answer, in their own ways, that it is indeed a public service. I've never thought of it that way - in fact, I'm not sure how I've thought of book reviewing. I think it has mainly been a selfish act. I like the idea of being able to tell you guys what I think you should read. But now, check it out! I'm issuing PSA's in the name of good reads.
In the next week watch for the publication of my comics on this blog - it will become Hazel Street Book Reviews and Comics. Why not?
Also, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival premiered last night! I'll be volunteering at the Wilma tonight at 7:30 and next Saturday at 4:00 so come to the movies! And this Sunday both my future brother-in-law Zac Thomas and my good buddy Marshall Granger have films at the Wilma, starting at 2:00. Hurray for the magic city of Missoula for supplying an incredible surplus of fun things for us to do!