Book Review: ‘Mr. Fox’ by Helen Oyeyemi


By Jenae Padilla | For AC JosepH Media

Sweet Lord. This book. This book.

At this point I cannot tell you if I loved it or hated it. It is that polarizing even in myself. Helen by no stretch of the imagination is a bad writer.

Quite the opposite, she may be my new favorite. What killed me and continues to destroy me about this story is that I cannot understand it. I do not understand what the thread between the stories were.

Short stories connected the main one. The book is about an author who can’t stop, or won’t stop, killing off his female characters. At the same time, he created one and she keeps him company in his head, and during his life.

Between each chapter of the book is a short story written by the author character in the book. They are written more beautifully than some full-length novels I have read, but as soon as you are back in the real world of the story setting, you, or I, get lost immediately and indefinitely.

Mr. Fox, who is one of three main characters in the story, is the author. He has conjured up the second character Mary. She is not real, and that point is driven home. Except … toward the end she becomes real?

The third and final main character is Daphne. She is the wife of Mr. Fox. Poor Daphne can’t decide if Mary is real, or her husband is crazy.

I am Daphne. I have no idea what is going on and while extremely frustrating. (I think I quit the book several times) Helen’s ability to just straight up write pretty things keeps you coming back.

Inspired is the right word when I tell you how I felt after reading it. Helen made me want to be a writer again. She reignited a spark long dead and dark inside me. I just wish the story made more sense to me overall.

I asked myself why I was reading the book many times, and the answer was always the same. I want to see what else she has to say.

4 Teardrops

Other Books by Helen Oyeyemi: Peaces, White is for Witching and Gingerbread

Bio: An author, communication specialist and livestream coordinator for Cornerstone Community Church in Vineland, Padilla is a member of Front Runner New Jersey’s inaugural 30 Under 35 Top Young African American Leaders in South Jersey list in 2022.

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