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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  3,339 ratings  ·  119 reviews
The critically acclaimed Birdy is an inventive, hypnotic novel about friendship and family, love and war, madness and beauty, and, above all, "birdness". Wharton crafts an unforgettable tale--one that suggests a notion of sanity in a world that is manifestly insane.
Unknown Binding, 282 pages
Published July 6th 1994 by Penguin Books (first published 1978)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cin Masson
What a book. It forces you to think about some interesting questions. Who is really crazy? Am I crazy for trying to mold the world into my perception of "normal"? Are crazy people really sane and just using insanity as a protection for their "humaness". We are de-humanized every day. Scary. Makes you want to fly away--or at least buy a canary.
Кремена Михайлова
Това е още една книга на Уортън, в която направих връзка с „Франки Фърбо” (другата беше „Илюзии”). И изобщо сякаш всичките му книги са някак свързани...

Въпреки акцента върху общуването на Пилето с птиците, за мен най-вълнуващо беше приятелството между Пилето и Ал, типичните моменти от юношеството, дори в проявите, обикновено неодобрявани от възрастните ( "Като тръгнем на училище, ще има да разправяме. Е, тук-таме ще послъгваме, за да звучи по-интересно, и всеки разказ ще допълваме с нови неща. П
A good friend lent it to me, saying it was his favourite book. I gave it five stars because the structure is so original, the voice pitch perfect...he pulls off something that i would never imagine possible, it is brave, fascinating, funny. The best parts are where Birdy is trying to distinguish between his daytime life and his nighttime dream, between being a boy or a bird, it is delicious, the blending of reality and dream, you start to believe the dream more than the reality, to want him to f ...more
Who hasn’t at one time wanted to fly? When I was a kid I longed to be a seagull, soaring over the waves, riding the onshore uplift, sweeping over the shore. Birdy wants to be more, not only to fly, but to become a bird. His best friend Al wants to become a tough guy, to fend off his father’s physical abuse.

Birdy raises canaries, not for their song but for their flight. Along the way we learn an awful lot about canaries, but it never seems like a lecture. It’s just what Birdy is passionate about
Birdy is a weird little novel which feels like something one would be forced to read in junior high or freshman year English class. That’s not to say it’s bad, though parts of it actually read a bit like an after school special (only if that after school special were on HBO).

The novel follows two disparate teenage boys who are close friends despite their stark differences. One is a jock/muscle-man and the other dreams of being a bird and living in a bird world. We follow them on their adventures
Holy Jesus with the canary minutiae, I mean SERIOUSLY. Although it was slightly more interesting than what one might think, it's still hours of canary minutiae. Canary minutiae does not a story make.

I'd really like to give this 1.5 stars, because I will never read it again, and I will never recommend it to anyone, yet there were definitely bits that I liked. But overall, it was just . . . the author had nothing to say. "Maybe everyone ELSE are the crazy ones!" Gee, never heard that one before, g
Христо Блажев
Стъпи в пропастта и размахай ръце:

Здравей, Пиле. Закъснях много да ти пиша, скоро ще дойде време да литнеш на юг. И аз искам да отлетя с теб, да видя света през твоите очи, да усетя свистенето на вятъра под крилата, да забравя, че съществуват толкова много решетки и че на пленничеството също му викат живот. Знам, че ще ме разбереш – в своето птиче одеяние си освободен от оковите, от човешкото пълзене по тая грозна земя, издигнал си се над смазващата норма
Zachary Karabashliev
Between my teens and my early twenties I'd pick my friends, according to weather they loved this book or not. Maybe I should start doing it again these days.
Dilyana Georgieva
Четох като хипнотизирана. Понякога има книги, които са толкова големи, че се чудиш дали смееш да се изказваш за тях. Асоциациите са неизбежни - първо с "Полет над кукувичето гнездо" и то не само заради птичия елемент. Едно огромно разочарование от света и неговите системи, от вкарването в "праволинейността" му и особеното кривване от всичко това. Един от най-силните и обобщаващи цитати на книгата лично за мен:

"Всичко, което съдържа живот, расте нагоре, но не е свободно... Най-високите клони ула
Birdy is a surreal fever dream that deals with mental illness and the travesty of war in a way I have never encountered before. It deals with friendship and coming to terms with the unspeakable evils that we are sometimes forced to do. The plot centers around two men, Al and Birdy, who have been friends since high school. They're an unlikely duo, seeing as Al is a sporty, athletic ladies' man and Birdy is a gawky, gangly runt of a thing, but they are inseparable friends. Both of them are drafted ...more
Steve Are
i have yet to read a book by wharton i haven't liked but 'birdy' was the first and best of what i've read by this author. sharing a long fascination with anything in flight or that rides the wind, eg., flags, smoke, or birds, the story was not so much the thing tho there was that. more the sheer detail of bird-background info, what they're actually doing when it appears they're cleaning themselves? they're zipping up their feathers, like velcro, to hold the wind in flight.
This is an unusual book. The story revolves around two boys who grow up in Philadelphia and enlist in the army to fight in WWII. The characters are what make the novel unusual. Birdy is a strange, introverted, scrawny kid who becomes obsessed with birds and with wanting to fly. He eventually enters the world of birds so completely that he believes himself to be one. His friend, Al Columbato, is a tough kid who is into sports, bodybuilding and girls. They seem to be polar opposite personality typ ...more
My March read for

As a young lass in LOVE with Nicolas Cage, I had seen the movie Birdy multiple times, but not for years and years. I'd bought the book used at some point during that time but never gotten around to reading it.

The first thing I realized is that it is impossible to imagine 2014 Nicolas Cage playing Al and not Birdy. Clearly, cage would be the crazy one! In my head as I was reading, I was picturing Cage in the bird squat and everything. And
Much better than the sequel - "Al". Introduces the reader to the deepest thoughts of a mind that is trying to figure the world out in their own way. Reading it forced me to think about what is considered a standard in today's world and how easy it is to lose ourselves when we have no idea how to fit in the mold that has been designed for us long before we were ready to be someone in a full meaning of the word. I might not be able to understand the main character's urge to become what he wanted t ...more
Arax Miltiadous
ένα μόνο λέω
κάποια βιβλία μια φορά γράφονται
και τίποτα δεν μπορεί να τα ανταγωνιστεί
Αχρονα μα και αιώνια.
το μπερντυ είναι ένα από αυτά.
I can't say I liked this book. I didn't. But it's stuck with me for 30-plus years since I read it. Maybe it needs re-reading.
Lora Grigorova

I have always lived in three states of time – the past, the future, and the dream. The past I use for recreational purposes – when I want to cry I think of all sorrows and disappointments; when I want to smile I cherish all those moments when I acted out of myself, when I committed a “crime” against society’s opinion, which ultimately made me feel like a God. The future I usually imagine in bright (very) colors after that second bottle of wine, when
David Buhler
Birdy a skinny kid obsessed with birds and flying, and his muscled atheletic friend intrested in girls are an unlikely pair, yet they spent much time together growing up having interesting experiences as boys. They keep pigeons for a while then Birdy becomes obsessed with canaries. He builds an avariy and breeds canaries. He spends hours watching them wishing he could fly, could be a bird himself. He falls in love with a female canary, Perta, and nightly dreams that he is a canary and is Perta' ...more

When reading William Wharton’s book Birdy I was able to easily imagine things because of all of the descriptions he used and the way he phrased some of his writing to make you have to find a deeper understanding of what he is trying to say.

The author is trying to make me feel like I am able to do anything if I set my mind to it and have the ability to image I can to something even if I physically can’t. He is saying that our mind is the most powerful resource and your imagination is unlimi
I liked 'Birdy' and read through it pretty quickly (which almost always means I liked it because when I don't like a book it takes me forever) but I only give it 3 stars because I wasn't crazy about it. It probably deserves more than 3 stars though because it's really well written, creative in story content and in the telling, and the characters were likable (though Laura calls them somewhat accurately "dirty boys").

More than one of us at bookclub commented that we enjoyed the detailed descript
Sep 05, 2007 Jonas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: asylum buffs
An unexpected little gem. I found this novel at a hock shop somewhere in buttfuck Manitoba. What attracted me to this piece of lit wasn't the author, nor the 80s movie starting Nick Cage, but the soundtrack for the latter; the score was composed by Peter Gabriel. Being somewhat of a Gabriel completist I had picked up the record a few years ago at some other buttfuck hock shop. The album is pretty unlistenable to anyone that isn't a Gabriel freakazoid; it consists of ambient rearrangements of pre ...more
David Hebblethwaite
Al and Birdy were both scarred by their experiences in the Second World War. For Al, the damage was largely physical – he now has a jaw made of glass – but for, Birdy, it was mental. Now in a psychiatric hospital, Birdy is living up to his name and acting like a bird. Al has been brought in to try to get through to his old friend; he recounts to Birdy stories of their younger years in Philadelphia. Alternating chapters chronicle Birdy’s developing fascination with birds as a child.

For me as a fi
Denise Flynn
2 main characters, Birdy and Al. The book is written from the perspective of the 2 main characters alternating between their narrative. Beginning in a military mental hospital where Birdy is resident, Al, as his childhood friend is asked to assist an attempt to reach Birch who is behaving like a bird.
This is a weird read but I gave it 4 stars based upon the superb descriptive writing.It won't be everyone's cup of tea but is strangely compelling.
Very strange story. The story is basically about how one friend, Birdy goes to war and comes back with a head wound, that now makes him believe he's a bird. He acts like a real bird. He was obsessed with birds before and would learn everything imaginable about them. He became so obsessed he wanted to learn every aspect about how they fly so that someday he would be able to make a set of wings that he would be able to fly with.

After his accident he's put in a mental hospital where his friend come
Was just reminded of this book, and read it ~15 years ago, but remember loving it. You really get into the character's head & moods. The book & this author are immensely popular in Poland, but for some reason relatively unknown in the US (despite him being American). This one was made into a movie w/ Matthew Modine & Nicolas Cage (w/ soundtrack by Peter Gabriel).
Laura Emmerling
I found this book at Half Price books and picked it up because I had heard of it before and thought it a "classic." However, it is not generally my style. Set in the aftermath of WWII, chapters alternate between what is present day and the past childhood of the main characters. After plodding through the bizarre story of the boys, the ending left me somewhat unfulfilled as I wasn't sure of the point of it all. If you like boyhood friend stories blended with war experience, this is for you, but d ...more
Nov 01, 2008 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gala bent
This was weak at the beginning and end for me, but the middle was packed. Some chapters I loved, loved, loved... some lost me. Toward the end, I got tired and I think Wharton got tired. I understand why it was awarded, I looked forward to reading it, and I also know more about birds than I ever thought that I would care to know. I think parts of this story will stick with me for a long time, and I would highly recommend it for some people, but for whatever reason, it is not a 4 or 5 star for me. ...more
Agnes Mack
The story is that of two men who have known each other since childhood, both of whom are locked up in a military hospital. The book goes back and forth between present day and the past. The past mostly involved one of the boy's obsession with breeding canaries and learning how to fly. This is the kind of book with a plot I don't even want to discuss because if you knew what it was about you'd likely have no interest in it. 10 pages of detailed descriptions of tending to canary breeding? It shoul ...more
I enjoyed 'Birdy', it was a interesting story of friendship and the effects of war. Birdy (you never know his real name) and Al go through so much together. Both men are very different, Al is all about lifting weights and chasing girls, while Birdy is obsessed with flying.

Al and Birdy are both suffering because of their war experiences Al talks to Birdy everyday about their pasts, while Birdy thinks about his birds and flying.

I felt Al's frustration because of Birdy's lack of communication, I
Sarah Hilton
I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this book, but a friend recommended it.

A story about one boy's (Birdy's) building fascination about birds and his unlikely friendship with an athletic boy (Al) who had more typical teenage interests - sports and girls. Both face the horrors of WW2 & return scarred. Al physically & Birdy mentally - convinced he's a bird and that he flew to survive the battlefield. Their deep friendship helps them deal with their wartime issues & face the future
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William Wharton (7 November 1925 - 29 October 2008), the pen name of the author Albert William Du Aime (pronounced as doo-EM), was an American-born author best known for his first novel Birdy, which was also successful as a film.

Wharton was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1943, and was inducted into the school's Wall of Fame in 1997. He volunteered
More about William Wharton...
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“There's no end to the absurd things people will do trying to make life mean something.” 17 likes
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