The Bird House by Kelly Simmons is a terrific novel and yet another of my favorites for the year! As I said in my Sunday post I’m probably going to gush a bit because I so loved this book! I really have to mention the cover as well – it’s so serene and beautiful and I kept imagining myself sitting in that chair while I was reading. The Bird House by Kelly Simmons is such a beautiful novel of heartbreak, fading memory, hope, and the uncovering of the family secrets and the forgiveness that must go with them.
Ann Biddle is a seventy year old woman who is starting to experience, more and more often, the loss of memories she was sure she once had. From the beginning though we know that Ann has done something horrible in her past; something she is still running away from. Her eight year old granddaughter Ellie, who she really hasn’t had a relationship with up to this point, asks her to help her with a school project. They have to put together a report chronicling something in their family that spans the years past. Ann has an attic full of such memories but she’d really rather avoid most of them. However, sharing this past with Ellie pulls Ann out of herself and leads her on a journey to face that troubling past.
This novel is told by weaving the past and present and it is done so well that you move seamlessly between the two which are forty years apart. Usually when I read a novel told in this way I much prefer one story to the other but not in this case. I looked forward to delving into Ann’s past as much as watching her struggle with her memory in the present to enjoying her time with her granddaughter. We feel Ann’s pain when she looks back into her memories of being a young mother and trying to cope with kids, an inattentive husband and breast cancer. Our hearts break when we journey with Ann through a tragedy that will reshape her life.
As a woman fighting dementia, Ann is always second guessing herself. Did I say that? Did I do that? Ellie keeps her on her toes though helping her to remember things as they go through the trunks in the attic and bring the past back to life. However Ellie’s mother, Tinsley seems to have quite a few concerns about Ann and her memory and has Ellie keep an eye on Grandma. Yet Ann has some issues with Tinsley as well and eventually confronts her. There is a battle of wills though but while Ann may be losing her memory, she certainly isn’t losing her spunk.
I loved Ann. Sure she had her flaws – who doesn’t? The way in which she handles some things in her past may not have been the way I would have but we do what we do in any given situation and it’s too late to turn back once it’s over. Ann was full of spunk and sass and she had me laughing more than once with her ingenuity. Ellie was also a fantastic character who you couldn’t help but love. She was curious in the way only kids can be and would very bluntly ask Ann questions. By doing this she made Ann look deeper into a life that she had been trying to keep buried for years.
This is a beautifully written novel and I don’t want to say much more than I have – this is one you need to experience for yourself. All I know is I picked this novel up one day and finished it the next. Kelly Simmons tells Ann’s story in such an intimate fashion that I found myself completely immersed and captivated by it. I felt Ann’s pain and I felt her triumphs. I felt her joy over spending time with her granddaughter and loved how Ellie helped her Grandma move on from the past.
The Bird House by Kelly Simmons is a look into a life being affected by demenia and so much more. It’s a look into a past that you may have preferred to have kept buried. It’s a story of love as well – the love of a child that can bring you a new lease on an old life. I loved this book! I couldn’t read it fast enough and it’s still so much on mind. It would make a great book club selection because there is so much to discuss from family, children, marriage, infidelity all the way to the devastating effects Alzheimer’s can have on a family. It’s definitely a must read in my books!
I read The Bird House by Kelly Simmons for her book tour with TLC Book Tours. You can see what everyone else thinks about the novel on the other tour stops here. Be sure to pop into Kelly Simmon’s website as well! You can purchase your own copy of The Bird House by Kelly Simmons here in the US and here in Canada.
I have one autographed copy of The Bird House by Kelly Simmons to share with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know in your comment so I can pass the extra entry along to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.
This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, April 2, 2011. Good luck everyone!
© 2010, Darlene of Peeking Between the Pages. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Peeking Between the Pages or Darlene’s Feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
My copy of The Bird House by Kelly Simmons was received for review from TLC Book Tours and the publisher.