Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
(Riverhead Hardcover, 2014, 308 pages)
Boy, Snow, Bird is a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale. Set primarily in the mid-twentieth century we are introduced to Boy Novak as she leaves her abusive father in New York City for a new life in a small town in New England. After she arrives and has somewhat made herself a part of the community she meets and marries Arturo, a widower with a beautiful young daughter named Snow. For some reason Snow makes Boy somewhat uneasy but this doesn’t prove to be a real problem until Boy becomes pregnant with Arturo’s child.
When Boy gives birth her baby (named Bird) is dark-skinned – it turns out Arturo and his family had been passing for white. Rather than turn away from her child Boy makes the decision to send Snow off to live with her aunt and uncle in Boston. This story focuses on Boy, Snow, and Bird and how they see themselves and are seen by others based on their appearances.
It was an interesting story and I thought it was very well-written but it wasn’t what I thought it would be when I started reading. I think it would be a good read for a book club because it will foster good discussion. If you’re interested in reinterpretations of fairy tales you might want to pick this up.