Customer Reviews for

White Teeth

Average Rating 4
( 103 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(43)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 103 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    Irony, with the right balance

    Written with verve and permeated with a subtle irony always catching its target, ¿White teeth¿ is maybe the best debut work I¿ve ever read. Zadie Smith is wonderful in drawing her characters, in painting their peculiarities in a sarcastic way, but never passing the line of the caricature. In few words she¿s able to stay suspended on the verge of a precipice, never loosing her perfect balance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2005

    The Best Novel in YEARS!!!!

    This is the best book I have ever read!!!! Ever!!! I read A LOT! But this book has all the elements...everything!!!! I am thoroughly impressed. The only flaw lies perhaps in it being too good, in that less is more and the author tends to overdeliver a bit, but I still love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2005

    AMAZING

    This is the best modern book that I've ever read. It all works together and the characters are all realistic (strange sometimes, but believeable).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2004

    A cheap ticket to London!

    I bought this book about 4 years ago and let it sit about the house scaring myself for years over the idea that anything so good could have so weird a title! Then I ran out of good books and cracked the cover. I felt transported to a community I did not want to leave, one nearby those I stayed in while flying back and forth between New York and Kabul many years ago. I felt I got a liberal dose of living with Americans, Brits and Indians. Sometimes it was too close for comfort, at other times I wanted to move in and help the situation. For about 3 weeks I struggled not to mention this book to everyone I saw. Fortunately I did meet 3 people at one party who all agreed this was a fabulous story, and they had not spent time living with the types of characters I found in White Teeth or working in Afghanistan or Jordan. I enjoyed the smells of the dirty hangout the men frequented, I wanted to separate 'the controllers' from their own lack of control over their own lives... I wanted the book to go on! It has been a long time since I read about so many richly developed personalities. This roller coaster was a fun ride through the streets and minds of modern day London, one I previously only imagined as I saw the cultures clash in dress and language styles. White Teeth gave me new insight into the minds and ideas people struggle with as the British Empire truly shrinks back inside the British Isle. This squeeze play makes for a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003

    Captivating Read!

    Wonderful book! I loved it and ate it up in no time at all. After I saw it on Masterpiece Theatre I just had to read it. The movie just didn't do it justice. I just wish the ending was different. It seem like it was just slapped on. It still is worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2003

    Excellent for Creative Writers

    My head spins when I think about how Zadie Smith manages to break all of the rules that would drive me crazy as an editor yet inspires me to the point of obsession/compulsion as a creative writer. She defies most all of the rules you'd find in a How to Be a Writer type of book, including sentence structure, tense, and political correctness (though I wouldn't call her politically INcorrect). Throughout the reading (and I am a slow reader), I was bursting with the realization that it is possible to use an outdated, undated, postdated self-styled combination of techniques or lack thereof and come up with something utterly fantastic to read. Smith's writing feels out the depth and edges of creativity, yet maintains an integrity that makes you think that if you reached your hand out a bit further, you could touch the curvatures of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2003

    Enthralled.

    i saw the movie version on pbs recently, and was so enthralled that i decided to read the book. it is amazing! as an indian living in america, even though i am a different religion and in a different country, i found the storylines and characters extremely well-developed. overall, the twists and turns leading to one man made this book exciting and hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2003

    Brought New Meaning to My Mission

    Being Bangladeshi American, I completely understood all the things that the Iqbals were going through in England. I had to read the book for a comparative literature course, and boy am I glad I read this book over all the others. Their fears, their sorrows are things that I feel too. This novel has definately been more motivation to just keep holding on to my goals to retain my culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2003

    Suprisingly Realistic

    As I plunged into this book I was unaware of what to expect and was pleasantly surprised by the unique reality of it. Each page captured every-day- life in a humorous and nonchalant way. It dealt with real issues, things that I could truly relate to as a reader, and brought to life a variety of other perspectives. As a whole it flowed smoothly from page to page and I found myself immersed in the lives of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though I was slightly disappointed by the lack of closure at the end, and would read it again in a heartbeat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2002

    Witty

    I've read the other reviews on this book, and they all say "good book, BUT." So my review is that it is one of the best books I've ever read, that I savored every word in every line, BUT it was a little slow. Took me a month to trudge through it (A MONTH!) but I have no doubt that it was well worth it. Smith's first novel is well written, clever, educated, and humorous, and I look forward to reading her second novel. I think this book is worth the time you invest in it - just be patient!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2003

    Awesome!

    Zadie Smith is a wonderful and talented new writer. Although I expected not to read the book (which was a gift), I raced through it and I smiled as I read. I felt ticked by the way she put words together. She is witty, fun, crude, poetic, and just damn smart. I was impressed and, to be honest, I just can't wait for her next book to come out!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2002

    A Good start- her subsequent books should be better.

    31/2 stars is more accurate. I started reading this novel with great expectations considering all the glowing reviews I had read. Most of the praise was quite deserved. I found the author to be quite gifted( though not preternaturally so) and hilarious for the most part. Her characters were very well drawn and her descriptive powers are admirable. More power to her-I couldn't have written it. The downsides were that the novel was a tad too long( actually more than a tad!)and -the more serious shortcoming- the author seems to have done very little research on some small points: 1. The main characters' journey through Europe was slightly unsettling. The geography seemed warped. I also kept wondering how they could wander across the continent and hardly see a soul- regardless of the neat offering of the end of the war. 2.I am Jamaican and Hortense's 'I and I' kept grating on my nerves as I have never heard anyone but Rastafarians and pseudo-Rastas say that in seriousness. In Jamaica, elderly church ladies do not want to be associated with Rastafarians in any way and do not habitually adopt their speech patterns. I doubt it is different with elderly Jamaicans in London. This point may seem small and indeed inspite of it I enjoyed the book and most people will in fact not know the difference, being unacquainted with the cultures Miss Smith describes. I am however of the opinion that if an author chooses to make certain cultures so significant/central to her work, she should at least try to present them accurately. The author seems to have relied on her second Generation 'Jamaican-ness' to get her through. All in all a good book.Don't believe the hype though- read it with low expectations and you will be genuinely pleased.Good luck to Ms Smith.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2001

    how to cook rabbit

    In an interview Zadie Smith was asked: 'how did you do your research for the historical parts of White Teeth?'. Her answer was:'...mostly just books, books, books. As far as I am concerned, if you want to find out abot the last days of WWII, get thee to a catalogue. People who were actually there rarely tell you anything of wider interest...I have a friend whose grandmother was born in 1902... Ask her what the first world war was like, and she 'll tell you the woman she lived next door to in 1916 really knew how to cook rabbit'. Smith's method of research turned up some surprises, in particular her 'facts' regarding what happens when five men travel in a tank through the Balkans in 1945 and other military matters: The bridge-laying men of the Royal Engineers are depicted as the lowest form of army life ('the unfêted bridge-laying division of His Majesty's Army with thhe rest of the losers' and 'The Buggered Batallion' and 'freaks and fools'). The wireless-operator is one-armed, two crew members are in the mind of their commander 'frontal lobotomy cases', he himself is there because of some negative selection criterium. This is completely wrong and an insult to the Royal Engineers. These men were highly trained and highly regarded. To quote the Handbook on the British Army (1943): ' Engineers ('sappers') are also trained to fight, and are, when needed, used as infantry. Such employment is, however, exceptional, since casualties in skilled personnel are difficult to replace' The tank in the novel travels from Athens to Thessaloniki to Sophia and somehow arrives in a Bulgarian village on the Greek Turkish border. It is a 'bridge-builder' (meant is bridge-layer), but also a 'scout-tank'. That is an improbable combination. 'The captain of the First Assault Regiment', a low rank for a regimental commander, is also the commander of 80 men under him, a low number for a regiment. He goes on a trip of hundreds of miles with one bridge-laying tank without any support whatsoever, which is completely irresponsible. By doing so he also leaves behind all those others under his command. That is, allow me, absolutely unthinkable. The purpose of this trip remains a mystery throughout. Somewhere it is called 'roaming aimlessly through Eatern Europe...'. Elsewhere the aim is said to, among other things, 'avoid the war in the mountains...between the EAM and the ELAS'. That is curious because the ELAS was the military arm of the EAM, a communist resistance movement, so they belonged to the same club, a relationship comparable to the one between the IRA and Sinn Féin. In the tank the radioman complains that he has been stared at for a week by the driver, but the driver sits in front on the right side and the radioman sits behind him on the left side. The captain orders the driver to 'check the map', but I would think this is the commanders own job. The radioman passes an incoming message to the driver instead of the commander, which is ridiculous, and so on and so forth. The tank breaks down after an explosion because 'the engine is buggered' and, miraculously, at exact the same moment, the track is broken. Some time later the radio is 'stripped to buggery' by robbers. One would not expect the crew to have the spare parts for such an emergency, but they manage to repair it. Four days after the reparation of the radio however they say: 'we have to fix the radio'. Ten days later:'Archie would lever up sections of the wheel' (sic) 'track with an iron pole' (meant is a crow bar)'while Samad investigated the problem'. I would say the problem is a broken track and you can see exactly where it is broken. Reparation might indeed be difficult because in many cases you need a running engine for that. On a trip with Russian soldiers (12 men in a jeep!) Samad stands 'atop the jeep' in motion. How? I do not know. When the jeep, now called the 'tank', unexpectedly stops, Samad is thrown 'in a backward somersault' over it. Apart from the wizard

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2001

    White Teeth is contemporary and satirical

    White Teeth is a debut novel by the talented cosmopolitan (London) writer, Zadie Smith, but it is more than new; it is contemporary and relevant. In the current global situation in which the U.S. and Britian (capitalism/neocolonialism) square off with Islamic 'fundamentalism,' White Teeth presents a literary space for imaginatively thinking through global conflicts of race, religion, science, immigration, family and history. Its final dramatic scene which presents the interests of Enlightenment scientific reason, contemporary religious movements, animal rights activism, and individual human beings reads, for me, as a statement contrary to social or scientific determinism. It is not that the two do not determine; they do. It is that they can be worked in and against. It is about agency; mice can choose to run in front of buses. White Teeth is more than funny, it is satirical. It views every conflict, context, and character with a critical eye. It should not be reduced to only its comedic elements for those elements seriously signify the necessity of examining our decisions, our pasts, and our fates for the future. In my opinion, what this narrative accomplishes through comedy is multiple critiques of the ways in which we allow sometimes shallow interpretations of ideologies to guide our thinking without seriously reflecting on how we have come to be where we are. The novel does satirize history, how we attempt to trace our histories, and how we let those histories influence through nostalgia or fate, but the characters nonetheless never give up trying to locate their pasts. White Teeth's comedy is both light and dark, and Smith balances the comedic and the dramatic with great dexterity; just when it would seem she will lose control of this long narrative, allowing it to drift into the ridiculous or the unwieldy, she brings it to a conclusion. The conclusion is powerful in its simplicity, and contrarily, in its ambiguity. I congratulate Smith on her difficult project; I encourage readers to read this novel and to talk about it with friends and family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2001

    good but long

    I thought this book was very enjoyable although dragged alittle in places. It makes you think about the many issues it raises.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2001

    Humor in bits of life

    This book was really enjoyable. If your family is of foreign origin, you will relate to the children who fight to find their identities as they grow up while parents struggle to teach their children traditions that tie them to 'home'. In the end I still wanted to find out what else happened to these colorful characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2001

    Wonderful book

    I loved this novel!! Zadie Smith is truly so talented that it takes your breath away. It's hard to believe it's a first novel. She has captured so many distinct characters and situations, making them believable yet extraordinary. I highly recommend and can't wait to see what she comes out with next!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2001

    A sleeper manifests slowly

    The most important book on the scene today is 'The Sea Change' by John S. Bohne. So says the genius of D.C Marion Pettie, King of the Subculture there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2001

    ZADIE, WILL YOU MARRY ME?

    This was the banner that a young man was waving enthusiastically at Smith's reading in Union Square last week. Although I don't want to marry Zadie, I do feel rather passionate about her prose. After finishing White Teeth a few months ago, I have been ecstatically spreading the word of Smith's fabulous debut. I actually found myself recommending her novel to an aimless brouser in B&N yesterday. Smith weaves the story of White Teeth with such mastery that it is astonishing to discover that she was only 21 when she began writing the book. Her style is poetic, playful, and inventive, that of an long seasoned author with an established voice. I clearly remember being sad the day that I finished White Teeth, I almost felt like I had lost a good friend because I had become so immersed in Smith's world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2001

    Great

    Would highly suggest this book. Keep job by Smith on what I believe to be her first effort. Characters were simply lovable.

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 103 Customer Reviews
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