In post-war Canada during the late 1940s, Elly McGuinty and her younger sister, Dot, are newly orphaned. The girls are sent to live with their grandparents in a small prairie town. Still grieving the loss of her parents, Elly chafes at the responsibility of helping care for Dot and struggles to find a place for herself in her new life. When a travelling circus comes to town, Elly’s desire for new experiences leads her, Dot, and new friend Stammer – a shy boy mocked for his halting voice – down a path where lives are altered forever.
L. M. (Lisa) Bryski, MD, is Canadian, convenient since her home is somewhere in Canada. She could reside most anywhere though, as she spends considerable time living in her own head. Lisa is a real doctor, but doesn’t play one on TV. She gets to wear a lab coat at work, and she likes to fix emergencies, not cause them.
Lisa has many proclivities, including a love of pancakes and all things breakfast. She enjoys reading and writing, and is very proud of her pronunciation of difficult words. Her humour is horrible, her punctuation abysmal, but she always finds a way to end her sentences with a period piece.
The Book of Birds is Lisa’s first novel. The narrative is a 1940s coming of age story inspired by many childhood visits to Saskatchewan, a love of ornithology and the Marx Brothers movie, ‘At the Circus’. Somehow in Lisa’s oddball mind, it all came together in the form of a book. Lisa’s novel tells of Elly and her sister Dot, newly orphaned girls who move to a small prairie town to live with their grandparents. Elly’s struggles to fit in lead both girls into danger. The consequences are unfortunate, and hopefully well worth the money to read about.
You can find L. M. Bryski on Twitter as @LMBryski. She also has a website, www.lmbryski.com, and can be reached by email, email@example.com. Inquiries about the author may also be made through Moran Press.
L.M. Bryski’s Book of Birds is a story of a 1940s young Canadian teenager who faces real obstacles thrown into the life. Elly and her younger sister, Dot, are sent to live with their seemingly grumpy grandfather and depressed grandmother. Before he died in the war, her father gave her a book of birds. This book becomes her refuge whenever tragedy strikes or when life throws her a curve.
Bryski does not hold back the impediments that a teenage girl may face in everyday life. Elly runs into the death of loved ones, a broken heart, mean girls, perverted men, mental illness, and you-can’t-do-that-because-you’re-a-girl. Elly doesn’t run from the barriers. She faces them head on and manages to seek help when necessary.
Bryski also helps the reader manage the situations with humor. Whenever this reader wanted to cry, I found myself laughing with a play on words or some sort of dry comment from a character. This takes skill as a writer to face tragedy with tasteful wit.
I highly recommend Book of Birds for fans of literature set in 1940s. I related to both Elly and Dot and the timeless issues they had to face.
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