An exotic country, magical beings, and a girl’s journey to find friendship is just a short insight into what The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi has to offer. As I read the story I discovered that there is a much deeper meaning than what is on the surface. My goal is to inform the reader about how I interpreted the story line and why I did so. I found that this novel presented a strong insight into other cultures, great character depth and an overall engaging story.
Jessamy Harrison is a one of the most intriguing characters that I have ever confronted in a book. On the first day of my read Jessamy seemed like any other 8 year old. She was one of the types that is always curious but aren’t all 8 year olds curious.
Jessamy or Jess for short would always be the one to ask questions. Jess could never pronounce a word right and was any average little kid.
Jess being an eight year old made the story very relatable to me because I have at least three cousins at that age. While reading the book I did question why Helen Oyeyemi decided to put Jess at such a young age. The conclusion that I came to make about that question is that she wanted to keep Jess innocent. Through the entire book Jess does not completely understand what is happening around her. She shows her innocence in many occasions throughout this book. Jess does not like it when there is not a happy ending so she likes to change books.
When her mother asked why she changes books Jess replied “Well it’s not a proper story if everyone is miserable.” (62). When she was asked what she wanted to be when she grows up she said she wanted to fly. She did not want to fly planes she just wanted to fly. Jess is a young girl but she is very troubled. When ever she gets into a tight situation she just screams. She always seems to be in the principal’s office. Jess really does not have any friends until she travels to Nigeria. While taking time off in Nigeria Jess meets a girl named Titiola. Jess at the age of eight it is difficult for her pronounce Titiola’s name. Eventually Jess gives up on trying to say her name and decides to call her TillyTilly.
By chance the one girl Jess makes friends with has special powers. Jess cant explain it and does not ask questions. TillyTilly is very mysterious and we do not learn much about her until later into the story. I started to question why Jess never really questions how TillyTilly can do these magical acts. If magic were going on around me I would really wonder how it is happening. Later into the story Jess has to travel make to her home in England. Jess has to settle back into the groove of school. She said her goodbyes to TillyTilly but does not want to leave without her one friend. One day after school Jess turns around and there is TillyTilly.
This is where I was extremely confused in this book. This girl was just in Nigeria and then just shows up in England. Jess does not even question how or why TillyTilly an eight-year-old girl travels 4200 miles. That sounded a little peculiar to me. That scene I have come to conclude was the reason for Helen Oyeyemi making Jess eight years old. A lonely eight year old does not question where a friend came from. All Jess knows is she was lonely and wanted a friend. Jess wants to bring TillyTilly to school to show her off but Tilly says no one can know about her. The next day Jess proceeds to school and gets into even more trouble than usual.
Her parents tell her she has to attend therapy. TillyTilly was very hesitant of letting Jess go. She had to make sure no one found out about her. TillyTilly said, “He won’t help you, Jessy. There’ll only be trouble.” (127). When Jess goes to meet the doctor she meets his daughter Siobhan. Jess and her have much in common and they become real friends. This is Jess’ first friend other than TillyTilly. One day Jess became very ill and was stuck in bed. TillyTilly came to visit. This visit was not any other visit. Jess learned a very sad truth. TillyTilly told Jess that she had a twin sister named Fern that died at birth. Jess becomes very upset with her parents for not telling her. When she told her parents they were just wondering how she came to find out.
She declines to tell them. Her parents know of TillyTilly but they have never actual met her. This was the climax of the whole story. Jess finds out a hidden past that she had no idea of until now. By now Jess has found out that TillyTilly is not a normal eight-year-old girl. TillyTilly always tries to have Jess’ back like a sister. She always says, “We should get her” (98). She means hurt that person because they have wronged Tilly or Jess. She shattered Jess’ mom’s computer and a mirror in the bathroom. She also pushed Jess’ friend down the stairs. That was when Jess finally figured out that TillyTilly was not as nice as she thought.
TillyTilly would always get Jess into trouble. Earlier in the story the broke into an amusement park and they broke into Jess’ enemy’s house. Jess also has to take the blame for all of Tilly’s faults. Jess can never get smart and learn that TillyTilly is bad news. At the end of the book the whole family travels back to Nigeria to celebrate Jessamy’s ninth birthday. While she is there she starts to lose her faith in TillyTilly. Jess does not know if she can trust her. The next day, Jess starts to learn Yoruba the native language of her family.
Everyone is excited for her and her grandfather wants to speak to her in Yoruba. For some odd reason Jess told him to leave her alone. He became very upset with her and her father and grandpa started a huge fight. The next day there was a huge tragedy. Jessamy was riding in the back seat of a car with no seat belt. They had a head on collision and she was knocked out.
The story ends with Jess standing up to TillyTilly and Jess finally took control. In all honesty this was not a book I would have picked up on my own and started to read. It ended up being a real page-turner and I really enjoyed it. This book had some great insight into different cultures and how the cultures interacted. This book told a great story about how a girl even a little one at that can eventually overcome trouble. That is a lesson everyone can learn from. No one likes having his or her life run by someone else. It is best to live life with a positive outlook and hope for the best.
Cite this page
Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl: Review. (2017, Apr 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/helen-oyeyemis-the-icarus-girl-review-essay