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karen.d

Karen.d's Reading List 2019

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'White Teeth' by Zadie Smith

 

This novel has had quite a lot of attention in the past few years, particularly on BookTube. So when I saw it in my local charity shop, I decided to give it a go. I have to admit that upon starting it, I had very high expectations of it, so I was quite disappointed by the end.

 

First, the positives. This is had  some very good writing within it.. The way in which Zadie Smith writes, is funny and the characters were very believable.

 

But the plot itself, was the main problem I had with this book. At the beginning, certain characters had a lot of attention and their stories seemed to be developing nicely and some of what happened to them, was really intense. But then suddenly, all of the focus of this story was completely shifted, onto another character and those who initially seemed important, became secondary characters, who were hardly mentioned in the rest of the book. Then more and more characters were added, without fully focusing on any one person. This meant that, by the end of the book,  even though they believeable, I really didn't feel like I knew any of them 

 

Partly due to this, and the fact that every chapter felt like an individual short story, this made the flow of the plot stop and start all of the time, and, although some chapters were really enjoyable, for me they didn't link together well. Randomly also, there were almost essay-like chapters, which talked about the ideas of identity and race within a multicultural society and, even though these were really interesting and thought provoking, they didn't seem to belong within the story itself.  So for me, the organization of the plot was really weak.

 

The most disappointing thing for me, was the end. The different strands of story did kind of come together towards the end. It was all building up to something that I thought, would make a powerful ending. However, it felt like Zadie Smith had run out of energy by the end and couldn't be bothered to gives us reader a plausible and realistic conclusion. For some characters, they didn't really have any resolution at all. This made me feel frustrated about investing time on this book.

 

I think this had some interesting ideas and the style of writing was really good, but the plot was terrible. This is shame, because this could have been brilliant..

 

My Rating ***

Edited by karen.d

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Shame White Teeth wasn't so great for you :(. I enjoyed reading your review, though! You explained your reasoning very well :).

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3 hours ago, Athena said:

Shame White Teeth wasn't so great for you :(. I enjoyed reading your review, though! You explained your reasoning very well :).

Yes it is a shame, I was expecting a lot from this book. I think it would have been better if this was separated into two books,as I think it would develop the ideas & characters better.

 

Thanks for reading my review!:)

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I tried reading White Teeth some time ago, but gave up part way through. I can't remember my objection exactly, but I think I felt a disconnect with the characters, possibly for the reasons you describe. I remember thinking that the writing was very good, but it just didn't hook me in somehow. Well done for sticking it out :)

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2 hours ago, ~Andrea~ said:

I tried reading White Teeth some time ago, but gave up part way through. I can't remember my objection exactly, but I think I felt a disconnect with the characters, possibly for the reasons you describe. I remember thinking that the writing was very good, but it just didn't hook me in somehow. Well done for sticking it out :)

Thanks! It was so frustrating, because the writing itself was so good. The plot structure really let it down for me.

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