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Life and Literature

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Birdie by Tracey Lindberg

It is a story of womens’ strength when they pull together. Focusing on b4bba90666545ebfba8ee8af99b2f578-w204@1xCree traditions and spiritual life.

Birdie has had a rough life.  She is floating through her life on a spirit quest while her skin self lies on her bed. I found it a bit confusing at first as the timeline is fluid. I was not sure what was the past and what was the present. I know that the shifting verb tenses and short sentences are a device to show how messed up Birdie is, but I found it distracting from the actual story. It surprised me at how much changing tenses and grammar problems distracted me from the plot. Staying engaged was hard.

Parts of the story are hard to read. Issues of sexual abuse and power over the women were repulsive to me. I wished there had been more protection around the young girls. The overall theme of strength and supporting each other when crisis hits partially redeemed the trouble I had will difficult topics and our scattered protagonist.

Although we spend most of the book in Birdie’s head, my favorite character was Aunty Val. She has a depth to her. She gave up a child which meant facing and fighting her own demons. She is a big women comfortable in her own skin but not perfect. Val steps up to raise Birdie, when Maggie, her sister, cannot. She makes the most of her life, doing the best she can. Even arriving to help Birdie after Birdie has avoided family for year.

The characters felt very real. I loved that I could see my own aunts and cousins in these women. It showed the universality of life. The writing is difficult to follow and messy highlighting where Birdie is at, but this also makes for an annoying read. The story is not just a Cree story but a story about accepting and enjoying our lives as they are. How we all have to overcome our demons and fight through mental issues to become stronger on the other side.


Review — The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

There was so much buzz about this book I just had to read it. Who has not been on a train and thought about the people in the homes you are passing by? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins starts with our primary narrator Rachel telling us about a couple she passes by daily on her way to work and makes up stories about. It all seemed rather run of the mill to me at first.

The story jumps to a year in the past and Megan. I liked the back and forth but began to distrust what Rachel was telling me. I almost put the book down at this point. Generally, I do not like books with a lying narrator but I gave it a chance and am so glad I did. I do not want to spoil the trill of the ride but suffice to say that the twists and turns are good and all the stories come together in the end.

I love thrillers and like the great thrillers I find this book speaking to me at the oddest moments. Making me wonder if the characters could have done anything to change the outcome. If you like thrillers, wounded characters, and stories that are more gray than black and white. This one will stick with you long after you put it down.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

A new take on the Cinderella… well if Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing. There is the classic stepmother, Adri, and two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony. But, in this story, Cinder likes Peony. Cinder is a second class citizen as a cyborg, and really does not know much about her past. Her stepfather, who knew where she came from, is dead.

Cinder is a gifted mechanic, as such, Prince Kai seeks her out to fix his outdated childhood android. Iko, Cinder’s fantasy prone ancient android, is so excited to see the prince. (Iko is one of my favourite characters). Shortly after the prince leaves, the market is shut down due to a live case of plague, so Cinder heads home. Since she is home early, Adri expects Cinder to fix the hover right away. While, her stepsisters get fitted for their custom made dresses, leaving no money for Cinder to get a dress or go to the ball.

Meyer‘s take on the classic story is engaging, and suspenseful, especially when you add the drama of a potential lunar invasion. The characters were well developed, and the plot moved well, with added twists. I was so excited to read the next book that I had to buy the hardcover. cinder