Customer Reviews


225 Reviews
5 star:
 (88)
4 star:
 (53)
3 star:
 (34)
2 star:
 (20)
1 star:
 (30)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Achievement
Serious themes, seriously meant and you just can't stop laughing.
That is, when you have a teeny weeny bit of insight into how it is for the first and second generation immigrants. If you have no idea what it's like, or take things too seriously then I can't say for sure if you're going to get all of the perspectives right in this one, which undoubtedly leads to...
Published on Dec 1 2002 by robyn _222

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A boring tale with too much going on
Yes, I understand that seems like a contradiction, but it was the exact feeling I had when reading this book. Tehre were so many stories and subplots and new plots getting introduced near the completion of the book. Suffice it to say I was greatly dissapointed with this read.
To give a summary, I am not even sure where to start. It actually did start out pretty...
Published on June 14 2003 by Lisa Sloane


‹ Previous | 1 223 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A boring tale with too much going on, June 14 2003
By 
Lisa Sloane (Gaithersburg, Md) - See all my reviews
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
Yes, I understand that seems like a contradiction, but it was the exact feeling I had when reading this book. Tehre were so many stories and subplots and new plots getting introduced near the completion of the book. Suffice it to say I was greatly dissapointed with this read.
To give a summary, I am not even sure where to start. It actually did start out pretty strong. With tales of an old friends and their distinctions, I thought it would at least be a well thought out book about friendship. About a quarter of the way through, things take a turn for the worse and never really get back to the zealous and picturesque story telling that occured in the beginning. By time I was about 2/3 of the way away from completion, I couldn't wait to put it down. Because I always finish books, I stuck it out, but believe me it was a chore. There were a few moments of clarity where I thought things from the end would somehow tie into things for the beginning, but really that never happened. I mean in the end we find the entire basis of the book, the only redeeming quality of life long friendship, was a fallacy in the first place, and instead of expanding on this- even a little bit, the author just ends the book. I mean really, what was the point?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars White Teeth: A novel of epic proportions, March 20 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
I both hated and loved this book.
First, I was amazed at the writing, and Zadie Smith's breadth of knowledge. She is obviously extremely talented. Unfortunately, these two things are not enought for me. If I hadn't had to read the book for a reading club, I would have never finished it, which brings me to to what I disliked about the book.
I hated the fact that I couldn't stand any of the characters; I didn't empathize with them. Perhaps this is because I am a white American, far removed from the London Zadie Smith writes of, but I doubt it. I don't think that she (the writer) likes any of her characters, except for perhaps Irie, the only character that actually develops during the course of the novel. At one point early in the book, I thought to myself that Zadie Smith must be a rather mean person to describe so many people so hatefully.
The thing I disliked most about the book was its unnecessary length. While the basic story was good, and even interesting, I often found myself wanting to skip through pages and pages to the next thing that moved the story forward. There were too many pointless dialogues and lengthy background passages.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive first novel, but not a GREAT book, May 4 2002
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book for the most part. I found it a really comfortable read and quite comical at points. However, it seemed to have a lot of careless editorial mistakes that kept distracting me. At one point, I am pretty sure she gets the twins confused and some of the dialogue didn't fit so well with the time period the story was supposed to be taking place in. Again though, I think these errors have to do with inexperience, (although I imagine the editor had slightly more, what went wrong?)
I also thought the ending was really weak, I loved the way she built up the characters and the action, but it all seemed to kind of flop around at the end.
Worth reading and I look forward to more in the future...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Embarrassingly bad, Oct. 16 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
WHITE TEETH's problem is less its story than Ms Smith's style, which reminded me immediately of Douglas Adams. But while the late Adams's constant authorial presence, leaning over the reader's shoulder to shoot acute observations at his characters, their plight or just plain LIFE, was perfect for his offbeat genre fiction, it is immediately grating in WHITE TEETH. The author lacks the wit (and, perhaps, life experience?) to make that style work, and it sits poorly with the suburban banality she seeks to ground the characters in. Frantically page-turning to see when Marvin the Paranoid Android showed up, I bailed at ~p.100, with no interest in the characters whatsoever.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Huge Disappointment, Oct. 8 2001
By 
SP (Glen Ridge, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
There was a lot of hype about this book and I sat down with it looking for an intelligent, absorbing, old-fashioned good read.
Instead, I found a horribly over-written book about people and places that I could not warm up to no matter how I tried.
The world in this book is an ugly, lawless place filled with characters that become less and less endearing as the book goes on. I was looking forward to the ending as I'd heard that everything came together, but it did not in any meaningful fashion, and I was so relieved to finally finish it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Achievement, Dec 1 2002
By 
robyn _222 (Hannover Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: White Teeth (Audio Cassette)
Serious themes, seriously meant and you just can't stop laughing.
That is, when you have a teeny weeny bit of insight into how it is for the first and second generation immigrants. If you have no idea what it's like, or take things too seriously then I can't say for sure if you're going to get all of the perspectives right in this one, which undoubtedly leads to missing all of the best jokes.
It's like being the fly on the wall as the wonderfully developed characters shuffle through the confusion of who they really are.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poetry disguised as a book, May 30 2002
By 
"abeck@bu.edu" (Allston, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
If this book would have been a play I would have stood up and clapped at the end of it. The underlying mythological themes (twins; travel to the axis munde; evil vs. good; earth mothers) keep this novel alive and swiftly moving. The beginning of this novel places us in a most destitute state in which we are about to witness a suicide. The character is slowing suffocating (and intoxicating...much like our favorite god Bacchus) himself with the carbon monoxide of his car. As he is about to pass out, a butcher knocks on the window and tells him how there "sha'nt be any dying on HIS property." With this simple message, our character has decided that the gods have given him a sign (and another chance) that he should live. What a careful introduction to a man who often chooses which direction to turn in life with the flip of a coin. The book follows Archie (our former suicide-attempter), his friend Samad (an Indian man who's only claim to fame is that his great grandfather was the first man to rise against the tyranny of the British Empire...and the first to be shot), their wives, and their children. Poignant and lyrically enthralling, I would recommend this book to any reader who is looking for a little more substance. A++++++++
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing (after all that hype!), May 23 2002
By 
jumpy1 (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
In White Teeth, Zadie Smith assembles quite a cast: The bumbling middle-class Englishman, the Jamaican Jehovah's Witness, the Pakistani family divided between traditional parents and rebelious children, and a Nazi-esque white family masquerading as do-gooders.
The first 1/4 of the book is so full of cliches and been-done Brit Chick Lit banter that I almost put the book down (there should be a law against referring to "pass-go-collect-$200" by now!)...thankfully, when the second section starts the cliches disappear and the story starts to get (somewhat) interesting. Without giving away details, I can say that readers will find some very original writing mixed with a lot of "let's all get along" preaching and mild paranoia about "what white people are really thinking when brown-skinned people aren't around" along with one or two Biblical misquotes.
Unfortunately the obviously talented Ms. Smith leaves the cast where they are at the beginning, dragging the story along without allowing either the plot or the characters develop into a worthwhile read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Caustic Wit and Irreverent Humor, May 11 2002
By 
A. Kennedy "devildog" (Monticello, KY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
I found this novel to be thoroughly entertaining having read it at the urgings of a friend of mine, a professor who selected this as one of a handful of novels he used to teach a cultural collisions course on Muslim culture. The novel revolves around two, dysfunctional families, one a mix of Caucasian and Jamaican, and the other, supplanted Bengalis. The backdrop is Willesden, a London borough. Through the character's perspectives, we become privy to the tribulations of the South Asian ethnic community. A caustically witty book, White Teeth takes on a variety of issues, from religious activism to genetic engineering, and very cleverly brings these issues to the reader's attention through some of the innate absurdities of these same issues. For instance, Smith practically skewers the Jehovah's Witnesses and their penchant for mistakenly "prophesying" the End of the World. Giving equal time to Muslims, Smith also takes on the strictures of Islam. One of the main characters, Samad Iqbal, makes a pact with God forswearing masturbation in exchange for drinking; both Islamic taboos. Samad, who is a "faithful" Muslim, has a difficult time following all the tenets of his religion. Smith's novel reminds me of Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia, another humorous take on an ethnic family living dysfunctionally in England. Both are written in an extremely irreverent, yet clever manner, where East and West clash not only on the streets, but also in the homes of these supplanted families. But Smith takes her caustic tone to a higher plane than Kureishi, her wit and insight shines through on virtually every page.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Comic Debut, April 18 2002
By 
This review is from: White Teeth: A Novel (Paperback)
Zadie Smith's remarkable first novel, White Teeth, deserves all the praise and attention it's gotten since its publication two years ago. This big, rich multicultural cacophony of a novel is a brilliant comic narrative that captures the mixture and conflict of races, ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs in London at the millenium. Moreover, unlike other British writers who sometimes seem condescending and unabashedly full of themselves (Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie immediately come to mind), Zadie Smith's writing is full of good humor and prescient insight into the value of even the most disparate life experiences.
Smith anchors her story around the unlikely friendship of an easy-going, seemingly unflappable working-class Englishman, Archibald Jones, and a deep-thinking, serious Bengali Muslim waiter, Samad Iqbal. The two first meet inside a tank in the waning days of World War II. They then reunite thirty years later in North London, two unsuccessful middle aged men living out their lives in O'Connell's Poolroom, "an Irish poolroom run by Arabs with no pool tables." But while the stories of Archie and Samad anchor the narrative, their relationship is only a small part of this hilarious and deeply insightful novel.
Zadie Smith, in reviewing her own novel in the British publication Butterfly, described White Teeth as "the literary equivalent of a hyperactive, ginger-haired tap-dancing ten-year-old." The amazing thing is that her description is accurate, for we get not merely the story of the unlikely pair of Archie and Samad, but also many other amusing and intersecting stories, all of them driven by the clash of culture, belief, race, traditon, lineage, and science which forms the turmoil which marks London, and all of the Western world's major cities, at the millenium. We get the story of Archie's young Jamaican wife, Clara, and of Clara's mother, Hortense, a devout and rapturous Jehovah's Witness. We get the story of Samad's turbulent relationship with his wife, Alsana, as well as Samad's struggle to raise his two twin sons, Millat and Magid, in the face of a materialist culture that pervades and undermines traditionalism of all kinds. We get the story of Marcus and Joyce Chalfen, one a geneticist and the other a pop horticulturist, and their son, Josh. The Chalfens are unstintingly secular, scientific and self-centered celebrants of their own ideology of "Chalfenism". Finally, we get the story of Irie, the awkward daughter of Archie and Clara, who winds through the novel, its characters and situations, searching for an identity in the tangled history of her Jamaican past and the crowded cultural stew of her North London present.
In Smith's words, capturing the essence of her novel in a couple of sentences: "It is only this late in the day that you can walk into a playground and find Isaac Leung by the fish pond, Danny Rahman in the football cage, Quang O'Rourke bouncing a basketball and Irie Jones humming a tune. Children with first and last names on a direct collision course."
While Smith's narrative energy dissipates somewhat during that latter part of the novel, "White Teeth" is still the best first novel to be published in a long time. Read it, enjoy it and look forward to many more novels from this brilliantly funny young author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 223 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

White Teeth
White Teeth by Zadie Smith (Paperback - Feb. 1 2001)
CDN$ 18.99 CDN$ 13.86
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews