Book Review of Catherine, Called Birdy

Catherine, Called Birdy
Catherine, Called Birdy
Author: Karen Cushman
Genre: Children's Books
Book Type: Paperback
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Plot Summary

The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off

Critical Analysis

The story is told through the diary of Catherine, the 13 year old daughter of a medieval knight. She goes by the nickname Birdy after the pet birds she keeps in her chamber. Her father is trying to marry her off to increase his wealth but all Birdy longs for is adventure. Through several resourceful tricks she she scares off most of the suitors her father has chosen, until her compassion for a wounded animal, and her unselfishness toward a village couple, traps her into a betrothal with the older Shaggy Beard .

The book is filled with historical information about the food, religion, medical practices and herbal remedies, lack of cleanliness, and social order of medieval people. Cushman does a good job realistically portraying issues of the time such as, child marriages, death, miscarriages, and that marriages of the time were based on economics not love. At the heart of the story is Birdys realization that she cannot escape what the future has in store for her, but she can decide how she faces it, with courage and determination. Cushman successfully blends historical facts with entertaining characters and a realistic story.