White Teeth – Zadie Smith
White Teeth is about two families in North London and all of the characters within them throughout a long period of time. The book starts in 1975 where we first meet Archie, a white male who later goes on to marry a Jamaican woman. We soon meet Archie’s best friend, Samad, a Bengali Muslim, who served in the war with Archie and later moved to Britain.
This book was about multicultural Britain and was a very real and authentic portrayal of all of the ups and downs and ins and outs that come with this multicultural society. The characters, particularly the children in these families, showed how they can have mixed identities, not quite fitting in any category at any given time.
There was no singular plot in this book and it managed to weave together many little stories within this novel, showing aspects of each characters’ experiences. White Teeth was a unique and important insight into many voices within multicultural Britain and it managed to show the different dynamics of family life so truthfully.
Overall I loved the concept of this book and the way it represented so many sections within society and did so with such genuine, honest and intricate details. However, I found this book longwinded and forced myself to get through it at times. There were so many details and lengthy scenes about characters that were just passers by in the story. Smith’s writing style was very intricate and skilful but sometimes it was just too much, especially as there was no real pattern of a plot.