I’ve read my first Canada Reads novel of the year, Birdie by Tracey Lindberg.
To be totally honest, I found it a bit difficult to get into at first. It’s very…mystical? It took me a while to figure out what was actually going on. But once I did it was almost like going into a trance – this is one of those books that just took me away to another world. This is also one of those books that made me rethink certain perceptions – I know that this is going to make me sound like a terrible snob, but a lot of the characters came off as, well, trashy at first. But the more I read about their lives and what led them to where they are, the more I came to sympathize with them. We’re taught that everyone has a story and that you can’t judge people based on their appearances, but it’s good to be reminded.
I must say, Lindberg is a terrific writer. Some awful, terrible things happen to the main character and yet there is still something very soothing about the cadence of Lindberg’s language. She does this interesting thing where, if there isn’t a word to suite what she needs, she just mashes words together; littlebigwomandaughter, smilesnarl, sistercousin, and so on. It gives the writing a sense of immediacy, like she is so eager to tell her story that it doesn’t matter if the words are real or not, just so long as you get the right idea. Reading this book made me think of a group of close friends sharing juicy gossip over a cup of coffee.
I’m not sure that this is a book that will stand out in my memory for years to come, but I would certainly recommend it.