Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Bird House (review & GIVEAWAY)

Let's just get right to it.

The Birdhouse by Kelly Simmons
Every family has its secrets. But when you are suddenly the matriarch, tending the dark fires of memory, and your own mind is fading, who do you dare to share them with? Your diary, or your eight-year-old granddaughter?

The Bird House: A NovelInterweaving diaries penned forty years apart, Kelly Simmons’s captivating second novel, The Bird House, blends the fierce voice of Ann Biddle, a woman struggling to bond with her only grandchild, Ellie, while railing against the ravages of early dementia, with her point-of-view as a young wife and mother. We witness the secrets of Ann’s family and her grand-daughter and daughter-in-law’s through every lens — from the clarity of the rearview mirror to the haze of Alzheimer’s. And we see her grappling through the ‘60’s with sleep deprivation, breast cancer, her own mother’s death, a passionate affair, and a tragedy that leaves her stunned until, four decades later, her whip-smart granddaughter unwittingly sheds a burst of light on the family’s shadowy history.

This book was so unbelievably good in a really subtle way. I love how the story line was being played out so quickly but you didn't even know it until you were almost done with the book, which I thought was so cool. I mean, it's like you didn't even know it was happening and then- BAM! It all came to get perfectly.

I really adored the characters. I really felt like Ann could be anybody's Grandma and it makes you appreciate the wisdom and knowledge a person has just from living life. Having worked with seniors previously I know from first hand experience how interesting hearing the life story of another person can be. I mean, it's just an ordinary life but it's so different from the next person.

What I really loved about this book was how the author really described, in a believable way, what it's like to be in the early stages of dementia and how they feel when a family member "checks up" on them. If you have ever had a family member or friend develop dementia this would be an interesting read for you.

What also is interesting is how Ann chooses to tell Ellie (the grand daughter) family "secrets". Which really aren't secrets- they are just events that happen over the course of life, but somehow, people believe that by not talking about it everyone will be better off. Which, families are built on success, tragedy, ups and downs. And I think that younger generations should learn about their family history. Good or bad.

This is such an excellent book and would make a fabulous Mother's Day gift for your mom or Grandma. Truly.

But ONE of my lucky readers is going to win an autographed copy of The Bird House!!! How exciting is that? The winner will be chosen randomly using the comments from this post, and announced on Monday, February 28.

To enter-
- You MUST be a follower via GFC
- Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite memory of your grandparent(s) is.

Good luck and happy reading!


Anonymous said...

Welllll you know I'm a follower! and some of my favorite memories of my grandpa who passed- was his hugs. Always so tight. He loved me. There was no doubt. I miss him more than anything....annnd now I'm at work with tears in my eyes. Thanks Sara. :)

Zoƫ said...

I am a follower of course, and this book sounds really interesting, an autographed copy is amazing!

It's hard to pick a favourite grandparent memory, celebrating my grandparents fifth wedding anniversary was really speacial though, as was going out for a celebratory birthday dinner with my grandfather who shared a birthday with my twin sister and I.


Josie said...

Might as well go for it...

My favorite memory with my grandparents hmmmm I have so many. Well I remember that my Grandpa HATED macaroni and cheese so we only ate that the days he wasn't there and he always had Necco's (you know those little candies) and trident gum that he kept in the glove box of his giant orange truck. And he always smelled like summer. He worked around big trucks and construction CATS and he always smelled like diesel and hot and asphalt. Also, even though he was dying of a lung disorder, he smoked like a train the last 4ish years of his life and hid it from my Grama until the very last day, because he didn't want to hurt her. I've never seen a man with so much respect for women and for his wife. He NEVER sat down at the dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) table unless all the ladies in the house were seated.

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Okay, I was going to be mad at you for reviewing yet another book that sounds awesome until you mentioned the giveaway, hehe. Either way, it sounds really really good! My to read pile just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger!

ShanStevens said...

I am definitely a follower!
My grandmother was absolutely wonderful. We lost her when I was only 8 years old, but I remember her like it was just yesterday.

Dana said...

I'm already a follower.

With my Gramma just passing, it's nice to be able to leave a memory of her. I would say that it would probably be being able to watch scary movies at her house when I was a kid. I loved sleeping over there and when my parents didn't let us watch scary movies, my Gramma did. The only problem was at the end of the movie, she would get up and say, ok, good night. It wasn't that easy to fall asleep after watching a scary movie as a kid but that tradeoff was worth it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book! I think my favorite memory was having "tea parties" at my grandma's house- complete with tiny plastic cups and Pepsi to sub for the tea. She's just been recently diagnosed with dementia so it's been pretty rough.

G said...

I'm a follower and my favourite memory of my grand mother was her 80th birthday in the local pub...and her dancing with this 21 year old barman - and then proceeding to take his top

trish said...

"I love how the story line was being played out so quickly but you didn't even know it until you were almost done with the book..." I love this! Subtle books are such a gem. Glad you loved the book! Thanks for being on the tour. :)

Kelly Simmons said...

Hey all, thanks for entering and Sara I'm so glad you liked my book!

Lots of people of all ages who were close to their grandparents really relate to -- even teenagers are loving it, which I never expected!

Good luck to all on winning! You can check out my blog on salon for more memories of my grandmother --

Andrea said...

Great review! I loved the book, as well. And love the way you're posting the giveaway! Excellent! :>