Book Review: "Winter Birds" by Jamie Langston Turner

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Appreciate your elders

Sophia is a elderly woman who is living in the home of her nephew Patrick and his wife Rachel. She has chosen them as the place where she will live until she dies. She then proceeds to tell us about here life and what goes on inside this household. She reveals that her marriage wasn't what she had expected it to be. Her stepchildren hated her from the beginning, her husband treated her as just a mere companion, and denied her of any little happiness she had hoped would come from her marriage that she did not experience in her childhood. Plus she also found a devastating secret about her husband that he had kept hidden throughout their entire marriage until his death. Living with Patrick and Rachel has allowed her to view this small family and their lives as a quiet observer. They have lost their two children and may not have the greatest marriage but since they are Christians they still find the strength to get through any hardships that come their way. This puzzles Sophia as she struggles to understand the meaning of her life and how not to take everyone for granted.

This book was a very relaxing read for me. Have you ever seen the movie Junebug? This book reminded me of that movie, being down in the south where everything is just slow paced. You think it will be a long time before the story gets exciting, but before you know it you've already been drawn into this world. I felt that the characters were very real and the reader feels very connected to Sophia. Being still a young adult, it was fascinating for me to read the story through the eyes of an eighty year old. I never realize how really we treat the elderly, until I read about how Patrick treated his aunt IE talking to her loudly because he think she can't her or doing things because HE feels that it's best for her. I did like very much how Sophia changed throughout the course of the book as she starts to realize that she doesn't want to look forward to dying anymore. I also found the scene where she's caught eavesdropping by Rachel and to cover it up she pulls off the button from her dress on purpose very amusing. I love how all of Jamie Turner's books bring in characters from her other novels and while this story took place in a different setting from the others, we still have appearances from two memorable characters. This book is touching, hopeful, funny, sad, and manages draws you right into the story all at the same time. I highly recommend this book.

Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner is published by Bethany House (2006)


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