Thoughts on 'The Icarus Girl' by Helen Oyeyemi.

8:50:00 pm

Hi guys!! How's your week going and hope you're in good health? This post was supposed to go up last week but I don't even know what happened. Anyhow, I'm here now so let's go right into it.

Last month, I started my bookclub and our first read was 'The Icarus Girl' by Helen Oyeyemi which was published in 2006. I chose this book because I stumbled across some reviews of Helen's work and I was quite impressed. 'The Icarus Girl' happens to be her first book and she was 19 years old at the time it was published.

This book is about an 8 year old girl named Jessamy (Jess), born to an English father and a Nigerian mother. She struggles with issues of isolation, race and a very wild imagination which makes her somber, withdrawn and often results in tantrums.

For the first time, Jessamy visits Nigeria with her parents to see her mother's relatives which turned out to be a life changing experience for her. Here, she meets a girl her age named Titiola, whom she nicknamed TillyTilly. They become fast friends and TillyTilly embraces Jess which made her feel less weird and very comfortable with her. It happens that TillyTilly is either a ghost or an imaginary friend of Jess who has come to life because she's only seen and heard by Jess alone.

On returning to England, TillyTilly appears at Jess's doorstep on the day she resumed school and their friendship was continued. Now, who is TillyTilly exactly? Based on her supernatural abilities like being able to open locked doors without keys and sitting in the midst of people without being seen, I concluded that she's indeed a ghost and not just a mere fragment of Jess's imagination. Later on, it was shown that Jess was a twin who had lost her twin sister during birth. This sheds more light on the appearances and being of TillyTilly whom I dubbed to be Jess's dead twin, given the fact that in her mother's native Yoruba culture, twins have a certain powerful bond.

The first 6 chapters of this book held me spellbound but along the line, it all became flat right up to the end. TillyTilly's struggle to wreck havoc in Jess's life became quite boring as she kept tormenting Jess to a rather rushed and abrupt end.

I was expecting to see more of a comparison of both English and Nigerian cultures between Jess's parents as they dealt with her emotional and psychological problems but this was poorly represented throughout the book. The author tried to capture the mythology of twins in Yoruba culture but it got mixed up till the very end.

A member of my bookclub said she found the book entirely boring and would never again pick it I would say the same except that the story started really well but lost its whole essence somewhere in the middle. Would I read it again? I think not. But I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it except that you might find the end a bit disappointing.

Although, I must say Helen is a good writer. For the fact that this is her debut novel, her writing style is impressive and I would want to read other books written by her.

So, our book for October is, 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky and by God's grace, I'll share my thoughts on it by the first week of November. Feel free to join the club. New members are very much welcome.

If you've read 'The Icarus Girl', please share your thoughts with me in the comment's section, It's always a pleasure reading your feedback. And also, if you have any book recommendation(s), let me know as well.

Do enjoy the rest of your week.
xo, Evita.

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  1. Book club... This is nice ... Knowing your blog today and I like the feel on my phone. I am Brenda. Maybe we could follow each other or what do you think?

    1. Alright Brenda. Thanks for stopping by.☺

  2. Wow,.. I just saw this book somewhere today and I can't even remember where. Sounds really interesting to me and I have a feeling I won't be disappointed. Lol. Do you have the pdf. Share with a sister if you do. Thanks.

    1. Lol! I hope you won't be disappointed too. I'll mail the PDF file to you.And please let me know how it went when you're through.😊 Thanks Olaa.

  3. Hmmm.... I am usually disappointed when a book that started well doesn't end well or with the same momentum. I recall that was a lot of hype over this book when it was first published.

    For some reason, I think that I have watched a movie titled " The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

    I recently purchased El Nathan's "Born on a Tuesday", I haven't started reading it though, I hope it's as good as the accompanying hype.

    1. You know this! The perks of being a Wallflower has a movie so its very possible you've seen it before. I totally enjoyed reading the book though.

      "Born on a Tuesday" sounds interesting already. Maybe because I was born on a Tuesday.😁 I'll definitely look for it to read.

      Thanks a lot Nedu.


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