I never put this book down. The protagonist, a 6 year old girl raised in poverty during the 60's in the South, spins a story similar to that of my own childhood, only much worse. Connie May Fowler weaves a magical story, rich with imagery and strong characterization, in this autobiograpical story. Ms. Fowler possesses a rare gift, and is an author destined to have each of her stories avidly devoured by those who want something stronger than pablum to read.
Although this book is now a movie, I must say that the book is much better. You can picture what is going on so much better in your mind than when watching the movie. It's a book filled with hardships and abuse. Physically and emotionally abused, the main character in this book is a little girl who finds protection and comfort from and odd old woman living in a trailer by the hotel she is living at. Starts off very sad but has a great, happy ending. Loved it!
Told from the perspective of the youngest daughter, this book provides a heartbreaking account of the legacy of child-battering and the unbearable weight of poverty on this broken family. A very believable story and highly readable book made less weighty by the good deeds of others and the wonderful imagination of this precocious child.
I was struggling through another book and picked this one up because I believed, true to form, that the book would a be a quick, though very heart-felt read. While I want to believe that the intensity of this kind of physical and psychological maltreatment of children does not occur, I know it does. Bird, the eight-year-old voice in this fictious story, uses her imagination and, ultimately, Miss Zola to get her through the unimaginable.
The author has written about a world of pain, with abuse of alcohol and the subsequent abuse of people. It would hurt almost too much to read this if not for the beauty of her words. The fear and anguish is relieved by descriptions of great beauty with powerful words strung like pearls. The battles in the book is between dreams and what her mother perceives as the "real world." The hero's task is finding another way of life, a place with trouble and great kindness that exists somewhere in the middle.
i highly recommend this book. i'm late reading this, i think it was written in 1996. i will try to find the movie now since i loved the book. the story of bird and her sister is heartbreaking. i plan to read all of connie may fowler's other books because i love her writing style. she made me want to rescue bird. read the book in one evening, could not put it down. i didn't realize until i finished reading that connie had a similar childhood, very sad.
Raised in an atmosphere of poverty and violence, 6-year-old Avocet Abigail Jackson, or Bird as she's called, is wise beyond her years. After falling to abuse by her alcoholic parents and the destructive upheaval of moving from one flop house to the next, her one solace is Jesus, whom she fantasizes as a possible suitor. While her older sister discovers romance with a local boy, Bird discovers Miss Zora, a mysterious black woman who lives alone in a cottage near Bird's school and comes to teach the little girl about dignity and her own capacity for forgiveness.--Amazon.com
A nine-year-old narrator whose voice is heavy with sorrow, but who learns truths about the heart, is the focus of Fowler's deeply moving, triumphant third novel. The reader, too, learns lessons about a child's love for her parents, even when that child is the helpless victim of their physical and emotional abuse. Avocet Jackson, called Bird, lives with her parents, Billy and Glory Marie, and her older sister, Phoebe, in a roach-infested Florida shack. When Billy, a frustrated country music singer who has squandered his talent in booze, commits suicide, a desperate Glory Marie takes the girls to the outskirts of Tampa, where they move into a dilapidated trailer. Terrorized by her mother's alcohol-fueled rages, Bird is further confused by the fire-and-brimstone strictures of the Bible, which she takes literally. She feels that Jesus and the devil are battling for control over her life, and when her mother becomes more violent and calls her "a fat, lazy, lying sack of shit," she concludes that Jesus has spurned her. Fowler brilliantly conveys a child's bewilderment when the sources that should provide succor?parents and religion?instead inspire fear. Her depictions of physical violence?Glory Marie's beating at the hands of a man hired by her jealous husband, or her own brutal attacks on Bird and Phoebe?spare no harrowing details. Fowler sweeps the narrative along with plangent, lyrical prose. Mixing the squalid details of Bird's life with the child's magical dreams of hope and healing, she has fulfilled the promise of her highly praised debut,
Winner, 1996 Southern Book Critics award, made into a tv movie starring Ellen Barkin, who won an Emmy & a Golden Globe for her performance. Life's realities seen through a child's eyes, wonderfully evocative and reminiscent of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' & ending on a lovely note.
Difficult and depressing read -- particularly if you know the story is a fictionalized version of the author's traumatic childhood. As children of alcoholics, Bird and her sister Phoebe suffer random beatings, the scorn of their peers, and the trauma of their father's suicide. Even though it ends on a note of hope, it's a tough climb to get there. I honestly think Sue Monk Kidd handled it better in "The Secret Life of Bees", perhaps because Kidd wasn't exorcising her personal demons as she tailored her novel.
This is one of my favorite books. The first book I've read by Fowler and it touched my heart. Beautiful story of a darling girl raised in poverty with a less than ideal mother. I fell in love with the characters of this book and often find myself wondering ... what ever happened to them? Silly, I know but that's what a really great book can do to you.
I read about 1/3 of the book. It was very reminiscent of the other "child grows up poor with parents who drink" story. I didn't find anything "new" in the book, although other people have really liked it.
Raised in an atmosphere of poverty and violence, 6-year-old Avocet Abigail Jackson, or Bird as she's called, is wise beyond her years. After falling to abuse by her alcoholic parents and the destructive upheaval of moving from one flop house to the next, her one solace is Jesus, whom she fantasizes as a possible suitor. While her older sister discovers romance with a local boy, Bird discovers Miss Zora, a mysterious black woman who lives alone in a cottage near Bird's school and comes to teach the little girl about dignity and her own capacity for forgiveness.
Avocet "Bird" Jackson fancies hereself Jesus' girlfriend and embarks on a quest for salvation. Obstacles in her path are first and foremost her family. Then she meets Miss Zola and finds her will to make sense of a world where fear is more plentiful than hope, and retribution more valued than love.
My name is Avocet Abigail Jackson. But because Mama couldn't find anyone who thought Avocet was a fine name for a child, she called me Bird. Which is okay by me. She named both her children after birds, her logic being that if we were named for something with wings then maybe we'd be able to fly...