book review

White Is For Witching By Helen Oyeyemi

Publication Date: June 1, 2009

Publisher: Picador USA

Pages: 244

Genre: Horror

Rating: 4/5

This is a haunting and creepy story that revolves around four generations of Silver women. The story starts when Lily has unexpectedly passed away and Miranda (Lily’s daughter) begins dealing with bizarre happenings that effect her both physically and mentally. Major trigger warning for anorexia and pica . Miranda, her twin brother Luc, and their father are also dealing with grief from losing Lily.

I was utterly captivated by Oyeyemi’s writing and the brilliant way she formatted this book. White is for Witching is not a book that a lot of people are going to enjoy or even be able to finish. The way the story is structured is very confusing until you figure out what all the page breaks mean and how Oyeyemi is using them to tell a layered story. The characters all feel unreliable and we never have a firm grasp on what is happening. This story meanders around and it can be difficult at times to understand what is the main narrative. Once I got the hang of the flow of the story I was able to appreciate Oyeyemi’s storytelling more.

An aspect of this story that I really loved was the use of the house as a narrator. I loved getting the background of the Silver family and what happened with Lily’s mom and grandma. It was also nice to see events from the house’s perspective and why it was doing what it was doing. I also really liked Miranda as a character and how despite what she is going through she is still resilient and hopeful. We also see things from Luc’s perspective and while it was harder to connect with him I did have a lot of empathy for his character. The connection that Luc and Miranda have as twins was vibrant and an integral part of the story.

If you are able to mesh with Oyeyemi’s writing and get past the unusual format of the story then I think that you will find the ending worth it. I was blown away by not only the horror of this book but also its beauty. This is a unique story from an incredibly talented author and I am in awe of her mind. If you are a lover of weird and wonderfully fantastic books than I hope that you will give this one a chance!


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