Skip to Content

Share

Rec Room: Adaeze Elechi: White Teeth

April 2, 2010


Adaeze ElechiI think it’s fair to say that, aside from The Office and the first three episodes of The Book Group, Hulu has some questionable British shows on their site. But they surprised me one day and acquired a real gem through White Teeth. This four-part British miniseries captures the complex, comedic, and heart-wrenching lives of three immigrant families over three decades in London. The show is based on Zadie Smith’s award-winning first novel of the same title and depicts with piercing honesty the struggle of foreigners attempting to settle and live comfortably in a Western land so different from their own. They have to decide which parts of their identity to keep, which to discard, and how much of the new culture to adopt.

As a constant immigrant (and one who still feels like a foreigner in her own home), I fully identified with the series. Being raised between West Africa and the Western world, my identity became a thing of confusion. The characters in White Teeth struggle with this tremendously—with race, religion, and culture. Some end up fully rejecting the ways of the land (like Clara’s fanatic Jamaican Jehovah’s Witness mother); some fully embrace it (like Clara herself who ends up running away from home and marrying a white Londoner); and then there are the children who were born in London to immigrant parents and whose journeys to self discovery are arduous and sometimes dark (like Millat who goes from being a fervent womanizer to becoming an angry member of a radical Islamic brotherhood and attempts murder in the name of Allah).

As long as people move around in this world, and as long as we interact and fall in love with people of different cultures and races, the stories in White Teeth will be relevant and inevitable.


Bio: Adaeze Elechi is Guernica’s blog editor. Read her last recommendation of Bob Dylan’s album “Desire” “here”:https://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1645/rec_room_adaeze_elechi_desire/.

Readers like you make Guernica possible. Please show your support.

Tagged with:

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterAdd to BufferShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrSubmit to StumbleUpon
Submit to redditShare on App.netShare via email

You might also like

One comment for Rec Room: Adaeze Elechi: White Teeth

  1. Comment by Anonymous on April 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I watched this (two?) years ago when it aired on Masterpiece Theatre. It was heartwarming, hilarious, and overall entertaining and thought provoking.

    I have never read the book so I can’t say it’s a good adaptation but it made it seem worth a look. It certainly leaves no one un-lampooned and I’d readily recommend it.

    The language and sex were a bit much for me at times, but again, I’d never read the book. But it seems BBC is getting a lot edgier in its portrayals these days in general so the jury is out on that one. Great choice Adaeze!

Leave a comment




Anti-Spam Quiz:

Subscribe without commenting