Sunday, April 24

Book Review: Birdie

Title: Birdie

Author: Tracey Lindberg

Pages: 256

Summary: Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC. She is on something of a vision quest, seeking to understand the messages from The Frugal Gourmet (one of the only television shows available on CBC North) that come to her in her dreams. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns, who played Jesse on The Beachcombers, because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Bernice heads for Molly’s Reach to find answers but they are not the ones she expected.

With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Bernice finds the strength to face the past and draw the lessons from her dreams that she was never fully taught in life. Part road trip, dream quest and travelogue, the novel touches on the universality of women's experience, regardless of culture or race.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a very enjoyable read, with beautiful writing and a wonderful story. It was powerful at times and the author did a fantastic job at creating the character Birdie, who was well fleshed out and developed.

The story has so many elements, it's hard to figure out where to start. It bounced around in time a lot, but it helped the reader understand who Birdie is in the present and how she got where she is. Her journey is horrific at times, and the author did a wonderful job at showing the reader how it affected her life and the other characters around her.

The writing was lovely and lyrical -and pulled me in from the start. The writing style helped highlight all the other elements nicely and I think it worked in bringing the reader into the book on an emotional level. The overall story was well done and raw, but it was incredibly well written and it's a book well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a wonderful book, beautifully written - some will likely be turned off by the writing style, but it's a book worth reading.

What to read next: Monkey Beach, The Diviners, The other 2016 Canada Reads finalists

Challenges: 2016 Category Challenge, 9th Annual Book Challenge, New Author Challenge

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