Reread Review: White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

Author: Helen Oyeyemi
Title: White is for Witching
Format/Source: Hardcover/my copy
Published: June 2009
Publisher: Picador
Length: 230 pages
Genre: Contemporary + magical realism
Why I Read: Ready for my annual reread
Rating:  ★★★★★ [ratings guide]
Second book for the Reread Challenge
Links: GoodReads IndieBound Chapters | Amazon

I love this book so much that I refuse to discuss it. Even if you loved it as much as I did, I don’t want to hear about it. Perhaps you loved it in a different way. I don’t want to know. I don’t want my love of this book to be spoiled in any way! I’m very fierce about it. There isn’t any other book about which I feel this way.* Then why I am writing this post? Oh, I don’t know, I’m just asking for trouble, aren’t I? ;P This year thus far I’ve been very diligent about documenting everything I’ve read and this book counts towards the 2015 Re-read Challenge I’m participating in…so maybe making a few notes about my reading experience (without somehow talking about the book itself) won’t kill me.

WHEN I First Read – I can’t quite remember, but I think it must have been shortly after the book’s publication in summer 2009 (certainly my first reading was in 2009). I remember reading it in the cafeteria at high school. Since then, I’ve read the book nearly every year (2014 flashed by too quickly for me to choose a good time to read it ;_;).

WHAT I Remember – I remember how I felt while reading it – totally enveloped in the story, as though nothing else exists, feeling differently even after I set the book down, spending more time quietly and observantly, thinking about different things than usual. I remember how the book feels in my hands, the soft touch of the pages and the perfect style of the font. I remember how I’m not sure I can ever understand the whole story, but I discover something new on each reading.

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read – To experience the sensations described above! I know I did an awful job at trying to describe ‘that feeling’ I get from this book. Perhaps it’s best to say no other book has made me feel that way. This is why I so often return to it. Also, I felt especially eager to read it because I hadn’t read it in 2014 (I should have read it in the spring, before I got caught in moving overseas!).

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading – Just as satisfied as every other time! Every now and then, I do a search for Helen Oyeyemi on Twitter to see if I’ve missed any interviews, etc. I was delighted to find another reader tweeting about how she felt the same way. She was reading the book for the first time and we talked about how we love it so much we don’t want to talk about it with anyone! I was very happy to find someone who felt the same way. She didn’t want the story to end, so I assured her it holds up on rereads.

WOULD I Re-Read Again -Yes, of course. I will continue to read this book every year, until – heaven forbid – it starts to lose its magic for me.

There. I’ve done it. I’ve spoken publicly about my most beloved book. I’m still standing. It’ll still be the same wonderful book next I read it. Phew. 😉 Is there a book you fiercely guard and love? 

*I only have a greater love for the Tolkien’s Middle-Earth writings, but it’s a different kind. That world is so vast, it allows a for a broad variety of fans. I can easily find those who feel the same way, and even if I’m chatting with those who have a different love than mine, I can set aside my personal adoration to explore all all its intricacies and build on them with other fans.