Author: Crystal Chan
Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John. His name was John until Grandpa said he looked more like a Bird with the way he kept jumping off things, and the name stuck. Bird’s thick, black hair was like the head feathers of the blackbirds, Grandpa said, and he bet that one day Bird would fly like one too. Grandpa kept talking like that, and no one paid him much notice until Bird jumped off a cliff. From that day on, Grandpa never spoke another word. Not one.
The day that Bird tried to fly, the grown-ups were out looking for him – all of them except Mom and Granny. That’s because that very day, I was born.
I first heard about Bird back at the Random House blogger brunch earlier this year and I was immediately intrigued. Then the reviews started coming in and there was no doubt I had to read it next. And I’m so glad I did.
Bird is a really wonderful book. On the outside it’s the story of a family who is after so many years are still grieving for the loss of a child and in doing so neglecting the child who lives.
The story is told from Jewel’s perspective, so we are given a glimpse into how she is feeling – how she feels sad for her brother’s death but also how frustrated she is that she feels she can’t talk about it to anyone. She’s learnt to bottle up and squash down her feelings – and we all know how well that generally works out.
So it’s thankful she meets a boy named John and from the moment they meet they have an instant connection. Jewel feels like she can be herself, tell him her dreams while he tells her his. I think it has the makings of a special friendship. I want to say more on this but I really dare not!
The special mention for this review goes to the Grandpa – he may be silent but his presence in the story is felt throughout. His actions speak volumes especially for the guilt he feels over the death of Bird – no matter how small a part he played (and to be honest from an objective point of view I don’t put any blame on him – but I know if I was in his position I’d feel exactly the same).
Bird can be summed up in a simple yet powerful sentence… young people have feelings too. And everyone would do well not to forget it!
I don’t think I even need to sum up this review – just buy it, read it, sleep it, drink it, devour it – you can thank me later.
Thanks to Random House Children’s Publishers for sending me a copy