Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

by Helen Oyeyemi

Harriet Lee has a long history with gingerbread that began in the possibly fictional land of her youth, Druhástrana. She recounts those day when her teenage daughter Perdita attempts to find Harriet’s childhood friend Gretel.

A modern take on the familiar gingerbread trope. This story takes elements from fairy tales and weaves them into something entirely new. A surreal, magical story about life in a place that may not even exist. An atmospheric story that had me questioning what was real as much as the people in the story were questioning Druhástrana.

Harriet Lee’s family is close and strange. We learn the history of Harriet and her mother Margot as the tale is told to Perdita, who finds herself wound up in the gingerbread history and a connection to Harriet’s childhood friend Gretel. There were so many peculiar things happening and a good amount of time is covered throughout the book. It took a little settling into, and I’m certain I missed quite a few things along the way, but I enjoyed the ride this story took me on. It’s one that I think would benefit from a re-read to pick up on all the pieces I missed the first time around, something I don’t typically do. It’s not perfect, but I liked the story and the writing style.