Book Review: Gingerbread

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Author: Helen Oyeyemi
ISBN: 9781447299431
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 12 March 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Picador/Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to read Helen Oyeyemi’s book GINGERBREAD.

The book is a modern fairy tale, a magical realism.

Perdita Lee lives with her mother Harriet Lee and her grandmother Margot  in London. Harriet is a single mother with all the normal struggles with a teenage daughter.  Perdita and Harriet are trying to fit in.

Harriet has a family recipe for Ginger bread that has been handed down for generations on her Father’s side. The Gingerbread isn’t quite what it seems. The ginger bread is their main source of  income.

Harriet and Margot have come to London from Druhastrana.  To quote from the book “a country that despite seemingly to nestle in eastern Europe, it does not appear on maps of google and Wikipedia says it is an alleged nation”.

Seventeen year old Perdita is questioning her “roots”, who is her father and where did her family come from.  She has a gluten allergy and in spite of it, she bakes and consumes gingerbread.  While unconscious  she takes a “journey” to  Druhastrana  to try and discover where she has come from.

When  Perdita “returns” Harriet realises she needs to answer all her daughter’s questions. So Harriet tells her all about her own childhood and her child hood  friend Gretel. Also how she and Margot made the journey to London.

It is easy to engage with Harriet, Perdita and Margot. The stories of their past keeps you interested. You do wonder who is Perdita’s father is, where is the country they came from, how do all the Kercheval families fit into their lives. 

However this book isn’t for everyone! It is heavy with metaphors and I found it a bit dark and hard going at times.

2 ½  stars.

This review was written by our Beauty and Lace Club Member, Anne Steer. Thank you Anne for sharing your thoughts with us.

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