The Bird House
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The Bird House

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  490 ratings  ·  120 reviews
From the critically acclaimed author of Standing Still comes a psychologically charged novel about the power and failure of family.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Washington Square Press
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I did enjoy this book but there were a couple of points that I thought were weak. I have read many books that had a main character who was dealing with Alzheimers. And the main character in this book, Ann, has an early onset version of it. Here's the odd part: I didn't really find it all that convincing. True, she forgets things here and there, but overall, the character seemed extremely lucid, and the reader really had no idea that she had it except for a few occasional mistakes. This was an od...more
Sally G.
Reading this book, for me, was meant to be. Here's the funny back-story.

While on Twitter, I was involved in a conversation with other 'Twits' (I don't think we're actually called that - but, it's funny, so - I use it) about books we'd recently read and enjoyed. I mentioned that while it took me some time to finally get to it, I'd found Still Alice by Lisa Genova really good.

As Twitter is an open Social platform geared to conversation and connection ~ a woman named Kelly Simmons joined the conver...more
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 (Washington Square Press) takes the reader on a mesmerizing journey into one woman’s past and beyond...more
Jan 30, 2011 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
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 mo...more
Sara Strand
This book was so unbelievably good in a really subtle way. I love how the story line was being played out so quickly but you didn't even know it until you were almost done with the book, which I thought was so cool. I mean, it's like you didn't even know it was happening and then- BAM! It all came to get perfectly.

I really adored the characters. I really felt like Ann could be anybody's Grandma and it makes you appreciate the wisdom and knowledge a person has just from living life. Having worke...more
Mar 03, 2011 Staci rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Staci by: TLC Book Tours
"Beneath the surface of any problem, if you scrabble a bit, you'll find a secret.
It may take a while-decades perhaps-not for your excavation, mind you, but for your desire to appear; for that childlike curiosity to float up again. Indeed, you may need an actual child to summon it, as I did.
But this is what drives us--the historians, the trash pickers, the gossips, the shrinks. And yes, the readers of books. We're all rooting around, teasing out other people's hidden reasons." [p.1]

......I abs...more
Diane Dachota
I read this book in one day and was interested enough to finish but in the end cannot really recommend it. It is the tale of Ann a 73 year old woman who is said to be starting to have symptoms of alzheimers, a disease which killed her mother. It alternates between present day Ann and her diary as a young wife and mother in 1967.

The problem I had was that neither Ann nor any other character in the book is a nice person. Ann herself is cold, and described not caring for her children, and then not...more
Big disappointment. The opening pages make the reader feel like something big has happened, but in reality, the book was just "there". No big turn of events worth telling over again. Very predictable. The only good news is that it was only 270 pages and an easy enough read that I didn't feel too annoyed that I wasted a few days reading it. But for those of you who were on the fence about it? Watching the birds from your window may be more interesting.
Very much enjoyed this read about Ann, a grandmother who is linked to the past through her 8 year old granddaughter Ellie. The secrets and the guilt of Ann's family all come tumbling through in this well written story of disappointment and heartbreak. It keeps the pages turning from the very first one.
Captivating and haunting story of mother/daughter/daughter-in-law dynamics, as well as husband/wife. Knowing our narrator, Ann, is suffering from beginning Alzheimer's , or I would say just a bit of dementia, does keep one guessing as to how much she is sharing is real. We know from early in the story that her young daughter died in a strange way, but not until the very end do we learn the details, and by then we have learned about so many infidelities and questioned so many paternities that it...more
This is one of those books I'm not even sure where to begin. Just when you think you have gotten to the crux of the situation in this one, the author pulls another surprise out of her bag of tricks. I read this in one sitting, it reads quickly, easily and elegantly. The writing is great, the plotting is amazing and the characters are intriguing. What more can you ask for in a book?

The Bird House, at it's core is about family secrets. We get to see these secrets through the eyes of Ann who is a g...more

All families have secrets; some are just more secret than others.

After a lifetime of disappointment and tragedy, Ann Biddle has found a small amount of peace in reconnecting with her eight year old grand-daughter, Ellie. Though Ann is in her golden twilight, a school project and an overzealous daughter-in-law begin to decode the lock on what Ann has kept hidden for years. Suddenly, less than golden past threatens to seep forward from the mist and dissipate...more
Aug 31, 2011 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
The Bird House by Kelly Simmons,is one of those books I'm not even sure where to begin. I couldn't put this book down.It reads quickly, easily and elegantly. The writing is great, the plotting is amazing and the characters are intriguing.

The Bird House, at it's core is about family secrets. We get to see these secrets through the eyes of Ann who is a grandmother now and trying to connect with her granddaughter, Ellie through a school project at first and then just trying to keep the connection...more
McGuffy Morris

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 wa...more
Elise Hamilton
This is one of those books where I ask myself, "Is it me? Almost all the other reviewers like this book a lot. Am I missing something they saw?" Here are my problems with it. First, the reviews did give me an expectation that this would be a wonderful book, so the fact that I felt it was only "OK" was a letdown. Second, the first chapter sets the reader up to expect some dark revelation and gain of some deep self-awareness by the narrator. I don't think it delivered on that promise. The elements...more
Anne Willkomm
I have not read Kelly Simmons' other books, but that won't last long! "The Bird House" was a thoroughly enjoyable read. She allows the story to unravel in such a way that, as the reader, you are wondering what is going to happen, but you are so engrossed in the moment of the story that you don't want to happen too fast -- savoring the reveal was so enjoyable.

Her protagonist, Anne could very well have been someone I know, or at least, someone I want to know. The reader can't help but feel for Ann...more
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
First Sentence: Beneath the surface of any problem, if you scrabble a bit, you'll find a secret.

The book description makes it sound like the protagonist is a likable person. She isn't. She's bitter; she seems to have resented and maybe even disliked her children when they were small; she was unfaithful to her husband, and she is full of pettiness.

In spite of this, this novel is a tightly-woven tale that swings from past to present - a dark family drama that pits Ann, 70 years old, a graduate of...more
I liked this book, and it was a little more interesting to me because it's based in the Mainline (elite suburban area outside Philadelphia). I technically have a Mainline address, but I am not Mainliner.

The story is told via Ann's diaries--the one from 1967 when she was a young mother of two, and current day where she is a 70 year-old grandmother trying to forge a relationship with her granddaughter, Ellie. The diaries are full of old and new family secrets including adultery, the death of a ch...more
Love, love, love this book! That's my highest rating. :) There are actually two stories within this book - the present, when Ann is trying to connect with her granddaughter and battling signs of dementia; and the past, with it's secrets. As the reader is enjoying the present story, bits of the past surface slowly enough to create intrigue and tension, but frequently enough to avoid frustration. Ms. Simmons is a master of pacing.

Frequent visitors know that Alzheimer's disease is an issue our fam...more
This is a story about memories, ageing, loving and guilt. Ann is a 70 year old widow. She developes a relationship with her grandaughter Ellie, who is 8 years old. Ann suffers from the early stages of dementia. Throughout the story we learn that Ann had a daughter that died and you have to read the story to find out how and why Ann suffers with the thought she is responsible. You have to read the book to the end to find out how she died. I will not spoil any parts of the book. It is a must read...more
Jamie Pfammatter
I happened across this book, it was in a pile of novels passed over to me by a friend and looked like something I 'might' enjoy so I tossed it on my reading pile. I ran out of things to read due to my local library's wait-list and picked it up thinking I would read a page or two and ended up finishing it in a day. I often mention a book was a quick read for me when what I should say is 'I read quickly' haha. So this was another 'quick read' that surprised me. It moved along quickly enough to kee...more
Carol  MacInnis
'The Bird House' is a wonderful, albeit poignant story, about a 70+ year old widow, Ann and her family secrets.

Ann has two children, although her 4 year old daughter dies in a bathtub drowning which Ann blames solely herself for. Her son, Tom is married to a controlling woman and they have a young daughter, Ellie, who Ann wishes to make a connection to.

Ann's troublesome past also weighs heavily on her as her Father leaves her Mother when Ann was a teenager and had also depleted her Mother's bank...more
Patsy Gantt
Mar 22, 2011 Patsy Gantt added it
Recommends it for: all mothers, daughter, and in-laws
I tried to win a copy of this book on Good Reads but was not one of the chosen few. Encouraged to read it, I downloaded a copy to my iPad yesterday. It was difficult to put it aside for sleep last night, and I have ignored all of today's chores in order to find out the remaining secrets.

Anne helps granddaughter, Ellie, with a school project that was meant to be simple interviews with grandparents. Working together, they uncover new family secrets, and Ann finally faces and fully comprehends deep...more
I devoured this book in two days off at Christmas. It was perfectly suited to the windy, rainy first day, and by the next day I couldn’t put it down. The narrator, Ann, is loving, wise and just unreliable enough. The novel is about memory, family, love, secrecy and betrayal. What more do you need? I may have to think twice before I assign a project that requires students to interview various generations of people within their families. Who knows what they will find?

A passage near the end of the...more
I started this book expecting a nice light read of a novel that I could read at the same time of taking two college classes. From the first pages though I felt closer to the characters than in many novels I've read and I had to keep reminding myself that it was in fact a novel and not a nonfiction book. What started out as a simple story about a grandmother and granddaughter getting to know each other and spending time with each other starts turning into a story about their relationship and the...more
This book was neither good nor bad, it just was. The opening pages make you think there's some big bad secret that you'll find out about. There isn't! There are some tame "secrets" that unfold, but nothing major. In fact, the whole book was like that. It went along and nothing really ever happened. I'd give it 2.5 stars, but that's not an option.
At first I was skeptical. The storylines were, in my opinion, disjointed, and it took a while for me to understand that the story was moving that way to symbolize the main character's Alzheimers. A few chapters in, it felt that the stories started to come together more. I started appreciating the remembrance of things that happened 40 years ago and how it related to things that were happening in the present. It made the multiple storylines flow together. I think the point was not to make the mai...more
Kristina Wojtaszek
I found this book while seeking out a story written in the perspective of an older woman, and Simmons does it so well that I was taken aback by the savvy looking young mom pictured on her website.

At times the three different women all having affairs seemed a bit much-- as if every woman goes through life having an affair, but I don't think this is at all what the story was aiming for. I loved Ann's voice, her careful, considering nature that hid the deeper, more rash and gutsy self-- the woman b...more
Simmons has created an appealing, if unreliable, narrator in grandma Ann. Having been scarred in childhood by her father's abandonment of her and her mother, Ann is only now coming to adore her grandchild, Ellie, the way most grandparents do. Ellie's school project about genealogy forces Ann to confront her past choices while continuing to avoid the consequences of her failing memory.

Ellie's mother, Tinsley, appears to be making choices similar to Ann's, and while Ann can't let her hurt her ador...more
Carla Ford
I loved this novel! Written in such an honest, no holds barred way, this fictional account of a young mother struggling to raise her children, deal with cancer, all while married to an uninvolved, emotionally detached man, just touches the heart on so many levels.Many years later, as Ann is trying to nourish a relationship with her only grandchild Ellie, she has to grapple with her own long held secrets, along with secrets she learns about other family members. Add to the story that Ann is deali...more
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DEBUTING THIS FEBRUARY: THE BIRD HOUSE, from Simon & Schuster. Hailed as a "great title for book groups who love strong female characters" by the Library Journal. Publishers Weekly called my first novel, Standing Still "An electrifying debut" in its starred review. I visit book clubs via Skype or in person. For book signing events or more information, see my website Or frie...more
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