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The Bird House

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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  • Posted July 4, 2011

    A Book You Can Fall Into

    Kelly Simmons writing style pulls you right in from the beginning. The book flows effortlessly and was a joy to read. The last time I read something like this was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I borrowed this book from the library and I enjoyed it so much I am going to purchase a copy for myself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Love Protects Us

    This is the story of a mother haunted by a secret she has long kept hidden. Now as she grows old, she finds she must come to terms with an act she committed as a young mother.the secret she kept will come out.

    As Grandma Ann Biddle assists her 8 year old granddaughter Ellie with a school project, she finds herself questioning her memory of the past. She finds herself wondering what is actually a memory, and what is her impression of the event. Ann is no longer sure what really happened, or the way things really happened. She isn't sure if her recollections are things she created to protect herself from the truth, and the pain of the past. She knows she must face the facts before it is too late.

    Ann's daughter-in-law Tinsley is Ellie's mother. She feels the need to protect her own daughter from Ann. Unsure of Ann's health and tenuous grip on reality, Tinsley feels responsible for monitoring the bond, as well as past secrets and their effect on the family's future.

    Time will tell. Secrets always come out, one way or another. Family shares your history. These three generations of women will come together because of heartbreak, but ultimately for healing. Indeed there is strength in numbers, and in love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Bird House is a wonderful family drama

    In Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, septuagenarian Ann Biddle knows her short term memory is failing her as she suffers from dementia. On the other hand her long term memory works better than ever as recalls in vivid detail her past; especially traumatic events. She knows everything about her daughter's death and her failed marriage, for instance.

    Her eight years old granddaughter Ellie asks for her help with a school project. Ann is excited, but knows her daughter-in-law Tinsley will interfere as she cocoons her daughter from hurts. As Ann and Tinsley war over Ellie, the child feels unsure what to do as she does not want to hurt either her mom or grandma but struggles with her older loved ones trying to control her relationship with the other.

    The Bird House is a wonderful family drama that looks deeply at the relationship between three generations of women. The story line in some ways is a parable about the American family as Ann begins to understand nuances re her mom and grandma at war over her. For instance, the little girl concludes "A house divided against itself cannot stand" (Lincoln) and her loved ones created a governance "constitution" built on lies and secrets that led to remorse and regrets, but remains strong and positive. With three real people acting and reacting in genuine ways, Kelly Simmons provides a super relationship feud in which one family represents the national family.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Looking for a beautifully written and spellbinding novel? Well, look no further because Kelly Simmon's The Bird House is the novel for you. Startling, eloquent, and immersing, I was hooked from the first page until the very last, and even then I was close to begging for more, more, and more of these richly developed characters and the world they live in.

    The Bird House tells the story of Ann Biddle, a woman whose dealt with more loss, death, and pain than any good person should, and now after more than seventy years of life, she's beginning to deal with the starting stages of Alzheimer's. Though, when given the chance to create a strong bond and relationship with her precious granddaughter Ellie over Ellie's school project, Ann jumps at the chance. Little do they know that this school project over family histories will lead to not only secrets spilling out from every door and pathway possible, but to Ann's looking over of her life: the choices she made and what they meant for her and her family. Will Ann be able to handle it? And what happens when she and Ellie learns more than they should? Only time will tell in this richly told story intertwining past and present times.

    Not only because of Ann's early stages of memory loss but the fact that this story is told strictly in her diary entries over the years, Anne is in all ways an unreliable narrator but in the best way possible. For one, it lead to this story to have a compelling and unique voice, one that constantly lead me flipping the pages eager to find out more about Ann's life, such as what happened to her daughter? Or, better yet, what happened between her and her high school sweetheart, as well as much, much more. Plus I was constantly questioning whether or not she was always telling the truth or merrily exaggerating some aspects.

    More importantly, I loved her granddaughter Ellie. Ellie was a sweetheart. Cautious, honest, and sweet, I could clearly see what Ann loved her so much. Though, what I liked most about both characters was the bond they began to form over the course of the novel, because not only did it play an important part in making this The Bird House an amazing book, but it was admirable and relatable to any girl or boy whose been close to a grandparent, in my opinion.

    I also really enjoyed the way Kelly Simmons told this story in diary entries of past and current times, because not only did she effortless tie everything together in a picture perfect way that never left me feeling like I wasn't getting a clear image, but she did so in a way that it made The Bird House compelling and full of dirty little secrets I couldn't wait to find out more about.

    Lastly, as I'm sure you can already guess, I loved Simmons' writing. It's beautiful, poignant, and eloquent and it made this novel flow in a perfect pace. Also, she did such a suburb job of getting the voices of her many characters and setting down in a way that I could easily picture everything and feel like I was right there.

    In all, The Bird House is most ways a nearly perfect novel, in my opinion. I simply can't wait to read more by Simmons, as I'm sure she has many, many more fabulous novels and ideas up her shelves.

    Oh, and while this novel is labeled adult fiction, I don't see any reason why older teens wouldn't enjoy it.

    Grade: A+

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  • Posted May 21, 2011

    Emotional but good

    Slow start but great finish. A book almost everyone will be able to relate to.

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  • Posted March 27, 2011

    An enjoyable and thought-provoking read

    Kelly Simmons "The Bird House" is narrated by Ann - a widow, a mother, a grandmother...a woman of secrets in a family full of women with secrets. Ann's granddaughter Ellie is assigned a school project on "Generations" and through Ann's working with her granddaughter on this, their relationship develops and their family history is gradually revealed. Though Ann's memory is impaired at times, we learn of past events through the journals that she has kept. Ms. Simmons tells a good story and engages us with interesting characters. This is an enjoyable and thought-provoking read, as well as being a very good discussion book for book clubs."

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    A Must Read

    What is true? What is real? What is forgotten and what can never be erased? In a lifetime of good intentions we all have our share of secrets, regrets, and undiscovered passions. And digging through old letters, connecting the importance of a ring with something said long ago, really looking at what is around you, well, it can change your entire view of your world.

    The Bird House by Kelly Simmons takes the reader on a mesmerizing journey into one woman's past and beyond in this sparkling and engrossing novel you'll want to recommend to everyone you know. The characters are real, the situations at once startling yet believable. I found myself glad that I couldn't sleep last night, because that meant I could get back to this novel and read it through to the end. How many novels are good enough for that? After finishing the last page I had that "I just read something truly amazing" feeling. The lingering of images and emotions. The sadness, as if parting from a very dear friend..

    Simmons writes of a granddaughter who is brutally honest, and who needs to do a family heritage project with her grandmother. She takes us into the head of Ann, a seventy-something woman of high intelligence and so-so memory, who skips us back and forth through time. Her past is a life full of promise, then terrible loss and guilt. In her present, Ann finds her heart being won over by her granddaughter, a child who asks all the wrong questions in just the right way. And Ann finds answers she hadn't even known she was seeking.

    The story is at once heart-wrenching and hilarious. Ann has a tart tongue and a sharp eye, making her the ideal narrator casting a witty eye on everything from egocentric architects, Main Line Philadelphia elite, the claustrophobic existence of a new mother, the horrors of those tacky birthday party activity joints, and the temptations of a forbidden lover.

    The author quickly envelops you with sharp imagery, true tension, mystery, passion and deeply-felt love. Her writing reminds me of Anne Tyler's: amazingly brilliant, yet so accessible.

    So read The Bird House, love it, share it. Your friends will be glad you did! Very highly recommended.

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    Posted January 11, 2011

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    Posted February 24, 2011

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    Posted January 15, 2012

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    Posted November 10, 2011

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