This very rarely happens to me. I can maybe think of three other instances in my whole life. As an avid reader, I finish books. Long ones, deep ones and not-so-great ones but today I’m abandoning one midway through.
It just might be punishment for judging a book for its cover because that’s exactly what drew me to Helen Oyeyemi’s latest novel, Boy, Snow, Bird. It’s a beautiful green color with a cool tattoo-inspired graphic. In my defense, I did read the inner panel and found it interesting that the title is actually also the names of characters. Sadly, I can’t muster any excitement for the story itself.
Here’s my take on the first half. After a gutsy move to escape an abusive father, Boy flees on the first bus out of town without knowing or really caring where it’s headed. She settles into the first boarding house she can find in the new town. Dates then marries the first man she meets and holds a job at a bookstore which was the only place not to fire her. She has just given birth to a black baby. We think she and her husband are both white but apparently there’s a deep, dark secret in his family (pun intended).
Boy is so passive a character that I just can’t feel anything for her. She shows no initiative or spunk, no fight or flight instinct at all. She’s sailing along as an idle passenger in her own life. Snow is downright odd and who knows what will become of Bird? Not me because I’m out!
I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to quit anything. I was raised to finish what I start. And this isn’t a long novel – about 300 pages of which I’m halfway through. On the flip side, life is too short to read lacklustre books. So unless any of you can tell me there’s an amazing plot twist and character development coming in the next chapter I’m heading back to the last installment of Game of Thrones. See you around August, they’re long!