December 6, 2012

Latest Read: Silhouette of a Sparrow

Here are the basics ...
Book: Silhouette of a Sparrow
Author: Molly Beth Griffin
Site: http://mollybethgriffin.com/
Category: Young Adult - Fiction/Historical

Summary: In the summer of 1926, sixteen-year-old Garnet Richardson is sent to a lake resort to escape the polio epidemic in the city. She dreams of  ornithology and visiting the famous new amusement park--a summer of fun before she returns for her final year of high school, after which she’s expected to marry and settle into middle-class homemaking. But in the country, Garnet finds herself under the supervision of her father’s wealthy oppressive cousin and the matron’s stuck-up daughter. Only a liberating job in a hat shop, an intense, secret relationship with a daring and beautiful flapper, and a deep faith in her own fierce heart can save her from the suffocating boredom of traditional femininity. (Adapted from goodreads.com

Thanks to Alexa for sending me the book!

My thoughts…
The good: Silhouette of a Sparrow is one of those books that you can read in one sitting and trust me, once you start you'll find yourself doing just that.  That's what happened with me.  It was another long wait for the bus, so I decided to start this and before I knew it, I was at the last page. But don't let the book fool you.  In under 200 pages, the author Molly Beth Griffin manages to explore so much with the main character, Garnet Richardson.  You're immediately thrown into her shoes and the life she's living in the 1920s.  She's from a modest household with loving parents who want nothing but the best for her.  The best being a good marriage where she can settle down as a wife and have children, of course.  And she thinks, for the most part, that this is right path for her.  Maybe not the happiest path, but the right one.  But then she's sent to spend a summer with relatives and in a matter of weeks, her entire world is turned upside down.

Garnet is a protagonist that you can't help but like. She's different and ahead of her time but it's subtle. She doesn't exactly throw on a flapper dress and run around town.  She's intelligent, loves ornithology (the study of birds; she likes to cut paper silhouettes of the birds she sees) and adventurous in her own quiet way.  As soon as she gets to her relatives' summer house, she's not content to sit around and knit all day. She makes plans and convinces her mother to let her get a job, goes to the library to learn about birds and befriends Isabella, a dancer from the local hall.  And it's that friendship with Isabella, more than anything else, that changes her because it quickly becomes more.  The exploration of this and even Garnet's discovery of herself is so well-done.  It's not just about the relationship itself but what it gives her the courage to do. To stand up for what she wants and to pursue her dreams.  To not be afraid. It's such a beautiful-written and simple coming-of-age story. I just felt completely transported to her world.

(Super minor) reservations: I expected the epilogue to say a little more about Garnet and give more definitive answers on where her life was going.  But at the same time, I do like the ambiguous hopeful note it ends on.

Do I recommend?: I do. This was definitely a different book for me and I'm so glad that Alexa sent it to me to read.  So if you feel like getting lost in the 1920s for a couple hours, give this one a try.

Happy reading!

5 comments:

  1. I've really been wanting to read this one! I don't remember where I first came across it, but I definitely haven't seen very many reviews. I'm very glad to see how much you enjoyed it. I love the sound of everything about it - especially the name Garnet. It just seems so fitting to the time period.

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    1. Yeah I've only seen it reviewed on two other blogs, Rather Be Reading and Alexa Loves Books. I wish it got more exposure, it's so well-written.

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  2. Isn't it completely different from anything else? I really thought this one was a lovely read. It's got a great setting and such a fun MC!

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  3. I've never heard of Silhouette of A Sparrow but the characterization sounds exactly like the sort that I would love. Like, this seems like one of those quiet books that just kind of seeps into you, and that is awesome. I am adding Silhouette of a Sparrow to my goodreads, stat.

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  4. Oh this sounds great... I'll have to add it to my reading list

    http://rose-tinted-spectacles.blogspot.co.uk/

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