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review 2014-12-11 15:21
Byrd by Kim Church
Byrd - Kim Church

This is a book club read.

I'm thankful that this month's book was one I actually had on my TBR list.  Now did I like it? hmm.. It was okay. 

I enjoyed the letters she wrote to Byrd, I think I might have liked it more if the entire book were her letters. 

The story is about Addie. A woman who grew up in a small southern town. Had a crush on a boy who played guitar. He moves away, they end up getting together for a very brief visit and she ends up pregnant.

She gives the baby up for adoption. "Byrd" is what she names him. This is how she addresses all the letters she writes him. 

I wanted to connect to the characters, but I couldn't. Everything felt so , blah.

Through out the book you also learn about Addie's family. Things that have shaped her to the person she is. Again, just was very mono-toned. Maybe that was the point. Addie's life was just that.

There was a spot at the end,

Roland's wife in the garage with the car

(spoiler show)

, was that really necessary?

 

Not sure I'd read more by this author.

 

Addie believes in books. They are more interesting than real life and easier to understand. Sometimes you can guess the ending.

Things usually work out, and if they don't, you can always tell yourself it was only a book"

 

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text 2014-03-30 04:51
New Book Releases To Check Out
The House at the End of Hope Street - Menna van Praag
The Cruelty - S. Bergstrom
Stay Where You Are And Then Leave - John Boyne,Oliver Jeffers
Byrd - Kim Church
Every Day Is for the Thief: Fiction - Teju Cole
Riding a Crocodile - Paul A Komesaroff
  • The House at the End of Hope Street: A Novel by Menna van Praag (March 25, 2014 by Penguin Books [Goodreads]
  • The Cruelty by S. Bergstrom (March 15, 2014 by JKSCommunications) [Goodreads]
  • Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne (March 25, 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)) [Goodreads]
  • Byrd by Kim Church (March 18, 2014 by Dzanc Books) [Goodreads]
  • Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole (March 25, 2014 by Random House) [Goodreads]
  • Riding a Crocodile by Paul A Komesaroff (March 11, 2014 by River Grove Books) [Goodreads]
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review 2014-03-30 03:40
Byrd by Kim Church
Byrd - Kim Church

Title: Byrd
Author: Kim Church
Genre: Literary Fiction
Setting: Carswell, North Carolina | California
Book design by Steven Seighman
Published March 18th 2014 by Dzanc Books

eBook version by Open Road Integrated Media

 

“Once upon a time, I was pregnant. A baby grew in me. I read to him. Once upon a time, I was a mother.”

When we were younger, we all believed that we were meant to fly. The path that lay before us seem to be limitless and every nook and corner is a possibility and an opportunity waiting for us. As we grow older, however, we come to realize that not every path conforms to our original dreams and aspirations. Some paths lead us to disappointments and regrets, lost love and perhaps even broken friendships. We were also fueled with that reckless, almost innocent impression that whatever we do (or not do) will have consequences that will only affect us and no one else. In reality, this is not true as we will find out sooner or later. As they say, reality bites.

 

Byrd, Kim Church’s debut novel is a touching and life-affirming story that explores the all-too-familiar instances in which our secrets, actions and decisions shape not only our own lives but our loved ones’ as well. As the characters in Byrd will later find out, life can become unforgiving at times, and the past will always find a way to catch up with us.

 

In Byrd, we come to know Addie Lockwood and how her life intertwines with Roland Rhodes. Both of them have their own dreams about the life they want to lead, but neither of them makes mention of being together. Their friendship (I’m using this word on purpose instead of intimate relationship as their relationship seem to be quite vague even to both of them) lasts until they graduate high school. They then lead separate lives, trying to make their dreams a reality. When they meet each other again, years later, it leads to a pregnancy that Addie and Roland aren’t quite ready to deal with. While Roland provides a small amount of comfort and care, we come to know that it’s the only thing he can give to Addie. Unknown to Roland, Addie gives their child up for adoption. Mired in a feeling of pervasive loneliness and uncertainty, Addie tries to estrange herself from her family as she tries to make sense of what she has done.

 

Through alternating point of views, what unfolds is a story about the characters’ present struggles as well as their past. Byrd portrays a cast of characters that are as real as you and me, as well as circumstances that are almost too familiar, affecting us in many ways. While I sympathized with all the characters, I felt an unconditional affection for Addie. She seems to be craving for love yet she doesn’t know that when you force love into your life, it can escape just as easily. Perhaps she is trying to find someone to fill up the space left by the child she gave up. The letters Addie writes to her child made me sad for her and her child as well.

 

It may all seem too sad to read, but underlying all these struggles and regrets is the message of hope and love. It shows how dealing with life’s problems and accepting love from others (even if we think we don’t deserve it because of our past) become a testament to life itself. Byrd brings us a message that people will always have the tendency to care and forgive in spite of our past. There are lighthearted moments, of course, and while some of the letters from Addie made me sad, there were times too that her humor showed in her letters, and I found myself smiling (and no, Byrd is not an epistolary novel). I also like Addie because of her love for books and her music tastes. A couple of books (mostly classics) and songs were mentioned in Byrd such as Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from my Friends (I love this song!) and Joni Mitchell’s “For The Roses, just to name a few (the rest you have to discover for yourself ;) ).

 

Kim Church’s writing is straightforward, meaningful and thoughtful. She handled the development of characters quite well as they try to deal with their issues. It took me some time to get used to the shifting point of views but for the most part the story moves along at a good pace. The author’s treatment of the characters and their predicaments were realistic and heartfelt so it was easy to sympathize with the them. I do not know what to make of the ending but I felt hopeful. I am being vague here but only to make certain that future readers will pick up this book to personally experience the story. I wouldn’t say I loved this book but I really liked reading it.

 

The heart and soul of Byrd revolves around the notion that our decisions and actions can affect other people, especially those closest to us, in more ways than we can ever imagine, but it also fills us with an overwhelming sense of hope. It seems to attest to the fact that life may not be what we always expect it to be, but when things become too difficult we will always have faith, hope and love to hold on to.

Source: 5eyedbookworm.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/byrd-by-kim-church
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review 1970-01-01 01:00
Byrd
Byrd - Kim Church

I didn't know what to think about this book at first. When learning the characters in the beginning, the paragraphs would jump around from person to person. I tend to get frustrated when I can't keep up from the start. But I soon changed this thought once I knew the characters. I enjoyed the fast pace of the book, as that is exactly what I needed on that specific day.

I may be a bit biased of the book in the sense that it takes place in North Carolina and she speaks of areas that I have lived in. I also lived in Los Angeles where another character lived, so it was easy for me to connect to the atmosphere of the book and I found that it sucked me in. I love books that take me back in time to a place that I have been and memories just come through the floodgates and this book accomplished this for me.

"Byrd" basically follows Addie from her younger years up until she is well into her 50's. She struggles to find her place in life and doesn't really know how to love or really what it is. She had a deep longing for a friend in high school, Roland, that seems to follow her throughout her life and maybe this is the reason for her confusion with men.

Roland is basically a guy who went out west to chase a dream that never happens. He adopts a cocaine addiction and seems to have trouble doing basic survival functions and usually calls on the help of a woman to get him by. He, as well as Addie, don't understand their path or how to love or even want to. Maybe that is why he keeps telling her that she is the only one who "gets" him.

When Addie goes to visit Roland in Los Angeles on a whim, she finally does the deed and ends up pregnant. After a botched abortion she gives birth to a boy and gives him up for adoption and the only person she has told about this is her boss. As a mother probably would, she feels a deep connection with her child and writes letters to him (that she never sends) filling him in on the happenings in her life.

I loved this book, although I can't say why exactly. Maybe because it seemed real to me and the outcome also seemed real. Maybe it is because it took me to a place in my mind that made me feel comfortable. I don't know, but I did enjoy this read very much. I definitely recommend.

Thank you Netgalley and to the publisher of the book for the advanced copy!

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