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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline

Bird in Hand: A NovelPublisher: Harper Paperbacks 
ISBN: 0060798904
Pages: 288 pgs
Genre: Drama
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

    Summary (from Publisher):

    The accident was just that -- an accident. It was dark, it was raining, ALISON had two drinks in her, and the other car ran the stop sign. She just didn′t get out of the way fast enough. But now a little boy -- not her own -- is dead, and Alison finds herself trapped under the twin burdens of grief and guilt, and feeling increasingly estranged from her husband . . .

    CHARLIE, who has his own burdens. He′s in a job he doesn′t love so that Alison can stay home with the kids (and why isn′t she more grateful for that?); he has a house in the suburbs and a long commute to and from the city each day. And the only thing can focus on these days is his secret, sudden affair with . . .

    CLAIRE, Alison′s best friend. Bold where Alison is reserved; vibrant where Alison is demure, Claire has just had her first novel published, a thinly-veiled retelling of her childhood in South Carolina (which is also Alison′s, in a sense). But even in the whirlwind of publication, Claire can′t stop wondering if she should leave her husband . . .

    BEN, an architect who is thoughtful, kind, and patient. And who wants nothing more than a baby, or two -- in fact, exactly the kind of life that Charlie and Alison have . . .

    Four people, two marriages, one lifelong friendship: everything is about to change.

    My Review:

    I was looking forward to Bird in Hand. The cover is attractive and I thought, based on the summary, that this would be something that would interest me. And it did…sort of.

    From the first pages, this book put me into a rage state. I was flummoxed as to why Alison thought the accident was her fault. Yes, she was drinking and driving and yes, it’s wrong and should never happen. But I thought the child’s parents were so much more culpable. They blew the stop sign and, even worse, the mother was holding the boy is her lap because he was cold and afraid of the dark. I’m sorry but being cold and afraid of the dark is much better than being thrown through a windshield. That was the first red flag that this book was going to anger me.

    Another red flag was that I hated most of the characters. Alison has absolutely no love or affection for her children, or at least she doesn’t exhibit any. She seems to care more about the fate of the boy in the accident than her own children. She foists them on a nanny any chance she gets. Charlie, Alison’s husband, is just a plain old schmuck. Why marry someone when you are clearly in love with someone else? Especially if that person is your wife’s best friend. And why stay in that marriage? Put on your big girl panties and leave. Get divorced. Don’t stay and make it that much worse. Claire was as self-absorbed and obnoxious as a person can be without being a completely unlikeable. She had such a good husband in Ben and threw him over for Charlie, “the epic waste of space”. Sleeping with your best friend’s husband is a huge “no no” in even the most evil of women. Ben was the only character that I had any form of sympathy for. The poor guy did not have any idea what was going to hit him. But he was a schmuck, too. He let Claire lead him around by the nose hairs. He was so weak. He walked around with his head in the clouds.

    Even through my dislike of the characters, I couldn’t help but like this book and, usually, if I hate the characters, I hate the book. I thought Bird in Hand was very well-written and interesting even if the characters made me want to rip my hair out. I also enjoyed the way they story shifted between past and present. The one thing I really did love about Bird in Hand is the ending. Ben and Alison got their fresh start while Charlie and Claire lost everything important and will likely be in the same place in a few years. Overall, I thought Bird in Hand was good but I just wish the characters had been more likeable.

    *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.


    1. I read this several months ago and gave it 4/5 stars. I think that was due to wonderful writing because it's hard to like characters who are guilty of betrayal, weakness, etc. The author had a hold on me through the entire book!

    2. Wow, I'm so impressed that you enjoyed this book so much after reading how much you disliked the characters! That's pretty much how I feel about Wuthering Heights - the people are horrid but the story and the writing keep me coming back.

      Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    3. The author did keep you interested even though the characters made you want to pull out your own hair. I guess a good writer can do just about anything.

    4. Now that I think about it, it totally reminds me of Wuthering Heights. I HATED all of the characters but loved the book. That always confused me. I think it depends on how good the writer is.



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