Thursday, March 10, 2016


Tracey Lindberg was coming to town to do a talk for CBC Canada Reads a few days ago, so I wanted to read her book, Birdie, before she came.  I started it before going on a work trip (and put it down in favour of travelling with my Kindle instead of a borrowed hard cover book from my brother).  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to finish it before her talk, but it was okay because I also wasn't able to make it to the talk (I had to work).  So I ended up powering through the rest of it last night and tonight.

Birdie tells the story of Bernice (Birdie), a young Cree woman who withdraws into herself.  She moves through her memories, going through a sort of vision quest as she revisits the hurts of her past, striving to move forward and change into whatever she is meant to become.  It's about family, both your blood relations and the family you make for yourself (specifically in Bernice's case, it is about Lola, her Aunt Val, and her cousin Skinny Freda who all take care of her and watch over her while she is having her vision quest).

Birdie is an interesting read.  Lindberg combines words (like "thinkfeeling") and gives a rather choppy narrative in places.  But this serves to bring you into Birdie's world so people who have never experienced her hardships (or those of her family) can better understand what she has gone through. 

I have to admit though, I ran into some trouble at the end of the book.  About 2/3rds of the way through, I felt like I was getting it.  And then something happened and I sort of lost it again.  I guess the story sort of moves into this almost folktale or myth space, which I just didn't see coming.  So that took away from my enjoyment of the book ("enjoyment" not being the right word because it does deal with such difficult subject matter).

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