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White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
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White is for Witching

by Helen Oyeyemi

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5133319,781 (3.3)79
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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
So I initially read this book because it was one of the required readings for an English capstone course I took. Its a little confusing, I even ended up rereading it a couple times after the course ended. Still not entire positive what really happened. I love how it brings classical elements and tropes from gothic fiction and put a modern spin on it. There are a lot of perspective shifts and I personally love how each is an unreliable narrator. Even the house has narrative space in the book and its own agenda; not even the inanimate building gives a reliable account of what is going on. ( )
  sarahpinkerton | Apr 18, 2018 |
I was really drawn to the premise of this novel because it had some ghostly elements to it, and that's kind of my thing. But I found that this novel was a bit hard to read and get through. For one thing, it is told from multiple points of view but the transition between the different voices is not always clear. We read from Miranda's perspective, from her brother's perspective, from her friend's perspective, and even from the house's perspective. You heard that right ... the house talks. While I found this all intriguing, it got confusing very quickly because the transitions were just so abrupt. I really liked reading about pica, which is a disorder where people want to eat things that are "non-nutritive" like chalk, or paper. This was a very unique feature for the author to include and she carried it out well throughout the story. However, I really didn't like Miranda's character. There wasn't much to her and she was just very weak. In fact, there were quite a few times where I wished the author had worked on some of the characters being introduced. I wanted to have a better understanding of who Miranda's mother was, as her death was like a catalyst for the events that happened. I wished there had been more on the house itself; the author clearly gave it its own voice so it only seems fair that the reader understands more about the character of the house. The list of characters I wish the author had focused on could go on and on .... you get my gist. The story moved quite slowly, which made me bored at times, but I didn't mind the pacing too much since it allowed for this really nice buildup of tension. However, the ending was a moot point; it felt incomplete and unresolved and it made me wonder why I had spent so much effort reading this novel in the first place. In the end, I just didn't enjoy reading this novel - even though I really wanted to. I'm giving this a 1/5 stars.

For more reviews, visit: www.veereading.wordpress.com ( )
  veeshee | Jan 29, 2018 |
This was a tough one to get through. It wasn't long, but it was difficult to get used to the writing style. Each section took an adjustment to figure out who was now telling the story. I thought it was going to be really scary, but I felt like the even remotely scary parts were only briefly touched upon and when they were they were a little confusing. I didn't feel very invested in the story or the characters so I really had no feelings either way about their outcomes. ( )
  ctkjs | Jan 3, 2018 |
OH THANK GOD ITS FINALLY OVER

First of all, THIS BOOK FRUSTRATED THE CRAP OUT OF ME. It felt like it was trying SO hard to be eerie and suspenseful when in reality it was just straight up confusing. I can't immerse myself in your story if I have ZERO idea what's going on in it. Please don't hurl random occurrences at my face and expect me to feel creeped out; that is not how you create ambiance, creepy or otherwise.

Character-wise, this book was also a complete disaster. Miranda is (supposed to be) your prototypical Quirky girl: she wears super high heels all the time, is always in black, and always wears vibrant red lipstick. (wow, high heels, lipstick, and black clothes. SUPER QUIRKY. -_-) That not Quirky enough for you? Well, fret not dear reader because Miranda also has an eating disorder, Pica, to make her Extra Quirky! Sarcasm aside though, the eating disorder, considering how serious it is, is never really fully addressed, nor are its consequences. Oyeyemi is just like oh, Miranda went to a psychiatric facility for a while for her Pica but now she's back, and even though Miranda's disordered eating continues throughout the book (on top of the fact that her brother continues to enable her), absolutely nothing substantial is said about it or its potential treatment. You can't just capriciously give a character an eating disorder to make them seem interesting and then largely ignore it throughout the rest of the narrative. If you're going to give a character an eating disorder—or any kind of disorder for that matter—then you better make sure you're up to the task of fully and properly representing it.

As for the other characters, they were bland at best and interchangeable at worst. Ore is just kinda there to contrast Miranda's strangeness; Eliot has zero personality apart from the fact that he occasionally says "fuck" and smokes weed (after all, that's what all teenage boys do: say "fuck" and smoke weed!!! That's totally how you write interesting, three-dimensional characters!!!); and Luc, Miranda and Eliot's dad, could've been replaced with a piece of paper for all I cared because that's how flat he was as a character. (Brief tangent: somebody give Luc an award for being the SHITTIEST PARENT OUT THERE because he was so freaking useless in this book. He was never present, and when he was, he was cooking his dumb pastries and avoiding any and all problems.)

To put it lightly, White is for Witching felt less like an atmospheric read to me and more like a phony one. To put it bluntly, EVERYTHING WAS HELLA CONFUSING AND FRUSTRATING AND THINKING ABOUT THIS BOOK ANGERS ME SO I'M GONNA STOP TALKING ABOUT IT NOW

Yeah...I didn't enjoy this very much—at all, really. ( )
  fatmashahin | Sep 23, 2017 |
I’m supposed to like this book. I like things that are a bit bizarre. I like England (where it is set). And everyone seems to rave about both this author and this book. So I’ve clearly – like Fortune Smiles – missed something.

And yet…

I should have known. The blurb on the front, from The Boston Globe, is “Profoundly chilling…a slow-building neo-Gothic that will leave persevering readers breathless.”

Did you catch that? “Persevering.” Apparently I was in for a bit of a slog. A book that was going to make me work for the reward. Which makes me wonder – do I like having to work to enjoy what I’m reading?

I don’t think I do. I’m not looking for Dr. Seuss, or short sentences. I think a book can be complex and challenging without dragging and feeling like work. This book was the latter, not the former. And even though I did make it to the end … I super did not care. I wasn’t shocked by the ending, I assumed it would end the way it did the entire time.

What am I missing?

I realized this morning that I could not picture anything the author discusses in this book. The home that features as a character in the book – I have not a clue what it looks like, and nothing about the author’s words helped me build that image in my mind. I don’t know what Miri (one of the main characters) looks like, nor do I have any picture in my eye of any of the other characters. The only setting I could sort of picture was part of the chunk set at Cambridge, because I’ve been there.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this before. Is this the author’s goal – to make the reader just feel like she is reading words, not creating any sort of picture or story? If so, then huzzah! Success! But that’s not what I’m looking for in fiction, at all. I can’t recommend the book, although I am somewhat looking forward to book club (the reason I read this) tonight, to see what the hell I’m missing here. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Helen Oyeyemi’s eerie third novel features a young woman who has a strange eating disorder and lives with her twin brother and widowed father in a haunted house across the street from a cemetery full of unmarked graves. On the surface, this setup might appear best suited to the young adult fiction market, but Oyeyemi (who was born in Nigeria and educated in England) knows that ghost stories aren’t just for kids. And “White Is for Witching” turns out to be a delightfully unconventional coming-of-age story.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Oyeyemiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tooke, KatieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I hold my honey and I store my bread/In little jars and cabinets of my will./I label clearly, and each latch and lid/I bid, Be firm till I return from Hell. - Gwendolyn Brooks, Selected Poems
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Miranda Silver is in Dover, in the ground beneath her mother's house.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385526059, Hardcover)

Miranda is at homehomesick, home sick ...”

As a child, Miranda Silver developed pica, a rare eating disorder that causes its victims to consume nonedible substances. The death of her mother when Miranda is sixteen exacerbates her condition; nothing, however, satisfies a strange hunger passed down through the women in her family. And then there’s the family house in Dover, England, converted to a bed-and-breakfast by Miranda’s father. Dover has long been known for its hostility toward outsiders. But the Silver House manifests a more conscious malice toward strangers, dispatching those visitors it despises. Enraged by the constant stream of foreign staff and guests, the house finally unleashes its most destructive power.

With distinct originality and grace, and an extraordinary gift for making the fantastic believable, Helen Oyeyemi spins the politics of family and nation into a riveting and unforgettable mystery.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. The twins, Miranda and Eliot, and their father, Luc, are mourning the sudden death of Lily, beloved mother and wife. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. Generations of Silver women inhabit its walls, and Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is more attuned to them than she is to her brother and father. When one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story." -- BOOK JACKET… (more)

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