Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - The Bird House by Kelly Simmons

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review - The Bird House by Kelly Simmons

In the tradition of Anita Shreve’s The Pilot’s Wife and Sue Miller’s
While I Was Gone—a psychologically-charged novel about the strength and frailties of family…

Kelly Simmons stunned readers and critics alike when she used the premise of a kidnapped woman suffering from panic disorder as a springboard in her debut novel, Standing Still (Atria Books; Washington Square Press).  Tied to a bed in a strange motel room, Claire Cooper is forced to lie still and contemplate not only the reason for the assault on her family, but also her marriage, her role as a mother, and the source of her crippling anxiety.  Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, calling it “An electrifying debut.  The perfect read for a stormy night.”  And both Entertainment Weekly and the New York Daily News praised Simmons for her narrative skill and writing style.

The former journalist and creative ad director admits that she’s obsessed with the things that she’s afraid of. She says she has a fascination with gritty stuff—crime, police investigations, mysteries, and the unknown. Fortunately, she uses her talent as an absorbing writer to meld her fascination into her novels, shedding a unique feminine, suburban, and maternal light on the things that disturb us all.

Now, with her second novel, THE BIRD HOUSE (A Washington Square Press trade paperback original; $14.00; February 1, 2011)  she tells the story of one women’s inexorable slide into dementia and her growing  bond with her granddaughter.  Together, they uncover family secrets of both the past and present that have the power to either destroy—or heal.  

Simmons has a great talent for bringing her characters to life with all of their flaws and frailties, which makes THE BIRD HOUSE the perfect novel for book group discussion. Some of the issues she seamlessly weaves into her storyline include:

My Take on the Book
This was a book that truly makes you think. The author takes you from past to present in a interweaving complex story that allows the reader to get into the mind of a character who is living her life with dementia. I was amazed at the amount of things that the main character was able to remember though fighting dementia. Remembering important moments such as her marriage, children and many of the turmoils that she had to deal with as well.

What I loved was the interaction between Ann and her eight-year old granddaughter, Ellie. You find yourself pulling for this relationship and encouraging it to thrive and grow as you see them interacting in the story.

This story brings forth the fact that there are many family secrets in one's life that can be dark, but it is how we deal and move through and share these secrets that count most. Though this story has many dark turns, there are glimmers of light that shine through. This book is a great second novel for Kelly Simmons, and I know that I am looking forward to her next novel!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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