BOOK REVIEW: WHITE IS FOR WITCHING BY HELEN OYEYEMI

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.

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