"A Polarizing Tale of Grief and Healing"
Reviewed by Svetlana Libenson
Posted October 11, 2017
Within two years, Emma Hazelton's world becomes upended
when at first she loses her darling son Joe to Canavan's,
followed by losing her grandfather to old age. Emma,
feeling devastated and purposeless after those two deaths
decides to attempt to reinvent her life first by agreeing
to help her mother sort her grandfather's belongings and
second by trying to gain purpose which causes her to
stumble upon some intriguing family mysteries.
The discovered family mysteries will test everyone around
Emma, from her mother to her estranged younger brother as
well as Emma herself, and it will be up to Emma to rise
above her grief.
As a reader, I found the mystery of
Emma's family intriguing and desired to know the answers.
There have also been many
parts when I was reading the story that in my head I kept
wanting to go back to family mysteries instead of just
focusing on Emma and her attempts to rebuild her life.
Emma has to work hard for what she desires and nothing is
easily given to her, which is something else I enjoyed.
I found Emma's
character was not relatable to those who haven't gone through
grief of losing children or close family members. Emma is
a character that either you love or hate, with little to
nothing in-between. She is not logical to her husband's
needs or suggestions, although in the story the husband
is portrayed as a good man. She is extremely
contradictory and her actions and thoughts made little
sense to me.
While its unfortunate that Judaism has a lot of diseases
that one may be at risk for, beyond that particular use,
Judaism isn't utilized as a faith of complexity and the
readers who may not know about Judaism will come away
from the book only knowing that Judaism has Canavan's and
that is it. They will not know or understand particular
reasons as to why some characters have done what they
did, which is a shame.
For a reader who is struggling with grief or with trying
to heal after a terrible loss of a loved one, I recommend
WHERE THE SWEET BIRD SINGS.
In this provocative new novel, the author of Root,
Petal, Thorn offers a powerful story of resilience,
hope, and the secrets that, no matter how deeply hidden, can
shape and ultimately unite a family. What connects us to one
another? Is it shared history? Is it ancestry? Or is it
People respond to tragedy in different ways. Some try to
move on. Some donít move at all. A year after her young
sonís death due to a rare genetic disease, Emma Hazelton is
still frozen by grief, unable and unwilling to consider her
husband Noahís suggestion that they try to have another
child. She canít gamble with heartbreak and loss again. Yet
she canít stand in the way of Noah having the family he
deservesóeven if she believes the answer is to push him away.
As the future Emma once imagined crumbles, her familyís past
comes into sharp relief. Searching for the roots of her
sonís disease, Emma discovers other secrets concealed among
the branches of her family tree. Within an old wedding
photograph of her great-grandparents is a truth Emma never
guessed atóa window into all the ways that love can be
surprising, generous, and fiercely braveÖ and a truth that
may help her find her own way forward at last.
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