The Bird Saviors
By William J. Cobb
(Unbridled Books, Hardcover, 9781609530709, June 2012, 320pp.)
The Short of It:
When religion and love collide, what’s left?
The Rest of It:
When I first came across this book, the summary focused on the presence of a bird flu or some other phenomenon which was killing birds off over time. Me, being the doomsday lover that I am, quickly snatched it up thinking it was another end-of-the-world book which I seem to have a fondness for. About a quarter of the way through, I realized it was most definitely NOT that, but there was something about it that kept me reading.
In a small Colorado town, Ruby finds herself living at home with her father while taking care of her baby, Lily. At the age of seventeen, Ruby is young and without a husband so when her father, Lord God tells her that he plans to marry her off to a much older man, Ruby makes a difficult decision and leaves home to avoid marriage to a man she doesn’t love.
There are shades of the future in this story in that there is a bird flu and people are falling ill with fever, but the book itself is really about broken and damaged people. Small town, small town life. Wretched people and good folks. Lord God is a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so he has strong feelings regarding what a family should be and how Ruby should be raising her daughter. The mere presence of Lord God is rather disturbing at first. He literally looms over young Ruby when you first meet him, but his interactions with the baby show a different side, which in my opinion made him much more likable.
Much of the book focuses on Lord God and Ruby and the wife that left him because of his religious beliefs but there are other characters in the book with their own stories and when they all come together, as stories taking place in a small town typically do, I can’t say I was disappointed.
As far as plot, there wasn’t a whole lot going on but the characters were so unique and the dialogue between them was really quite well done. By the end of the book, I felt as if I knew these characters pretty well, given the short time I spent with them.
The Bird Saviors is slightly dark with plenty of dysfunctional characters. If you enjoy books by Cormac McCarthy I think you’ll enjoy this one too. I found it to be a compelling read.
Note from Ti: Now that the book is out, I see that many of the websites I viewed earlier have adjusted their summaries to be more in line with what it’s really about.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Net Galley.
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