Book Reviews

Book Review: What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

img_1133Hello Bookworms! It’s time for our favorite posts ever, book reviews. Like the review? You officially have a new book to add to your list. Not a big fan of the content? Great, you know not to spend the money.

I love talking about books.  I loved “What is not Yours is not Yours” too. This is a collection of short stories that intertwine a tiny-tiny little bit.

There is no exact time frame to these stories; however, we can be assured they take place in a time of internet. Maybe, it is a time slightly in the future. It seems as though

img_1135 most of the events are in Europe. And, in The Homely Wench Society, Oxford college is specifically mentioned.

While these details don’t have much to do with the content of the stories, it became an aspect that was key to my enjoyment of the book. The whole time I read about these characters I imagined where they existed. The possibilities were endless, similar to the paths of the lives of these characters. It also makes the characters feel more universal when the setting is ambiguous. I could relate to anyone since I could imagine they existed in a similar world that I exist in.

From secret gardens, to millionaires, to washed up celebrities, to puppets, to secret societies, and to the never-check-out hotel, this book somehow covers every corner that I didn’t even know it needed to cover.

Big Takeaways

My favorite story: Freddy Barradndov checks…in?

Least Favorite Story: Drownings

Favorite character: Senora Lucy

Other books by Oyeyemi: Ginger Bread, Boy Snow Bird, White is for Witching and others. 

Moving on. The writing in this book. Oyeyemi tackles the beast of: anything can happen in the plot as long as there’s causality, and she wins. When I think of my own writing, the moment I realize that anything can happen, I am overwhelmed. Really? Seriously? Anything? I can be writing a story about a couple on a picnic, then the man can receive a call that his father has died, but wait he’s the suspect, never mind it’s actually his date who is guilty! While that might not be your cup of tea, it is still true that anything can happen in your story, but most writers are afraid to take that risk.

Oyeyemi is not afraid to take that

The subversion of authority added another layer to this book. Many of the stories do not involve an adult figure, or if the character is already an adult, they are supposed to answer to someone or  something that they don’t. Authority can mean lots of different things in this book including celebrity authority. In one particular story, the characters grapple with how to proceed when their celebrity authority is in question.

blogAll in all, I loved this book. You already know that, but I’d like to say it again. Major themes? Authority, love, public image, and outcasts. These themes are displayed in tones of vagueness and a sense of the uncanny.

Cons of this book? I don’t have too many. The stories could have been more deeply imbedded with one another. Most of their overlap comes from one central family, but they don’t play a role in every story. Of course, if you don’t like short stories, this won’t be your cup of tea. But, if you have been wanting to branch out into the short story genre, then I can’t think of a better place to start than with “What is not Yours is not Yours” by Helen Oyeyemi


Keep reading Bookworms xx

2 thoughts on “Book Review: What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi”

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