Sunday, 11 May 2014

Bird- Crystal Chan

Jewel has always lived in the shadow of her brother.  John, who earned the nickname Bird through his penchant for jumping off anything and everything, has a hold over the whole family.  But Bird died.  He tried to fly off a cliff on the day that Jewel was born, and the family are now living a dysfunctional existence. 

Bird is the story of a family struggling with the tight grip of grief.

I've thought long and hard about how to describe Bird.  I cant compare it to other books as it is so original, and although there are words and emotions that I can link to it (magical, enchanting, unique, gut wrenching, painful, wistful) I want to be able to wrap that up into one neat paragraph about why you should read Bird.  I'm not sure I'm going to be very eloquent or succinct, but here goes. Here is why you should read Bird.

You should read Bird because it is a book which transcends genres.  It reads almost like a fairy tale, and has spiritual undertones which left my arms studded with goosepimples.  It is a family saga.  It is a story of friendship, and place within community.  It is a story of loss, bereavement and self worth.  It is a coming of age tale, a voyage of self discovery.  It feels part fantastical, with elements of mystery.  But most of all it is brimming with hope.

You should read Bird if you have ever lost someone close to you.  It captures the anguish, the pain, the desperation for answers perfectly.  And if you haven't been bereaved yourself, you should read Bird because it will help you be more empathetic to how those left behind carry the weight of bereavement with them at all times.

You should read Bird if you have ever felt like an outsider.  Jewel is lonely, misunderstood and is a protagonist that I desperately wanted to protect and befriend.  And if you have never felt like an outsider you should read Bird because it will give you an insight into how life is for many people who are feeling their way through life, grasping for understanding and acceptance.

You should read Bird.  Really, you should. 

Although prepare yourself for the blubfest at the end.  I could hardly breathe with the deepset pain in my chest and I had snot bubbles coming out of my nose as I couldn't control myself.

Poignant.  Perfect.

Bird is out now, published by Random House Kids UK.  Aimed at 10+, Bird undoubtedly has the potential to cross over into the adult market. 


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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