Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen...reviewed by Suzie Gurr.

I read, adored and reviewed this book earlier in the year. I passed it on to Suzie and she loved it so much that I think it is well worth posting a second review of this wonderful book, it took me quite while to pass my copy on and I still haven`t managed to let go of my copy of Caroline Leavitt`s Pictures of You, so book lovers will understand Suzie`s feelings!
The Bird Sisters is one of the few books I have read that, having reached the last word, made me want to turn straight back to page one so I could savour it all over again. As I handed it to the next reader in my sharing group I wanted to snatch it back and hug it tightly to me. I had to force my hands to let it go. It is that good that it must be shared!!
It is a sensitive portrait of two elderly sisters, Milly and Twiss, who live together in Spring Green, Wisconsin. and to whom locals bring injured birds for medical attention. One day, a mother and her children bring the sisters a bird they accidentally ran over. The bird is beyond help but the sisters try everything they know anyway. They understand that once a bird has lost his ability to fly, it`s like losing a leg. The freedom of movement and of spirit, it granted you are things that we cannot live without.
In the course of conversation with the family, Milly lets slip that Santa isn`t real, upsetting both the mother and her daughter. Milly is told, "Only a person without children would say something like that". This cruel, thoughtless remark transports Milly back to the summer of 1947, when the girls were young.
That was the summer of The Accident, and also the summer that cousin Bett came to visit, the summer that everything changed. The rest of the book alternates between flashbacks and glimpses of the sisters` lives in the present day. The result is a beautiful, heartbreakingly tender, poignant story of sacrifice, sisterly love, the disintegration of a family, the strengthening of self and incredibly difficult selfless decisions.
Anyone not emotionally affected by the sisters, their story and the beauty of Rebecca Rasmussen`s writing would have to be dead! I will read it again and probably again. Next time I will have a notebook handy so I can write down some of the memorable quotable phrases.

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