Book Review: The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li

Mimi Miller, Contributor

In The Book of Goose, author Yiyun Li fabricates a beautiful yet disturbing rendition of childhood friendship. Through storytelling, flashbacks, and phenomenal detailing, this book brings us through a young woman’s account of her adolescence. The book was truly page-turning, creating a balance of youthful naïvete with upsetting and mature topics.

The story begins with a woman, Agnes, reading a letter from her mother in her Philadelphia home. In this letter, Agnes’s mother informs her that her childhood best friend, Fabienne, had died during childbirth. This shocking discovery sends Agnes to embark on a journey, sifting through her childhood and adolescent memories with her late best friend.

Their friendship began in a rural, post-war French town. Intelligent Agnes was drawn to Fabienne`s incentive to lead, and the two spent their time exploring their town and entering a world of imagination. Fabienne brought Agnes through her disturbing stories, scouring her brain to create the most shocking and psychologically stimulating stories she could, fabricating a book over time to host her twisted tales. The book gets published under Agnes’s name and becomes an internationally accredited story. Agnes is shipped away to a prestigious English institution, while Fabienne stays behind. 

The main reason I felt so connected to this book was because of how realistic the friendship was. The characters felt entirely real, the connection the two girls had compared to a puzzle; they completed each other. Li created characters to have shades of grey, and no one was entirely good or evil. Even the two close friends had fights, aligning with real relationships. I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for something to make you think about human relationships and the beauty, tragedy, and sacrifices that come along with it.

Overall, I would rate this book a 9/10. The language is mature and descriptive, and Yiyun Li immediately encapsulates you with her talented writing. •