The Painted Bird describes the evils of war and their effects on a young boy, the narrator who is 6 yrs old when the story opens at the onset of WWII.The Painted Bird describes the evils of war and their effects on a young boy, the narrator who is 6 yrs old when the story opens at the onset of WWII. The innocent, sheltered boy's parents, presumably wealthy Jews, arrange to send away their only child for safekeeping at a Slav village. But due to a series of unfortunate events, the boy finds himself alone and unprotected, as he endures crisis after trauma followed by disaster. With each horror he survives, the boy loses more of his naivete, and eventually even bits of humanity.
In this book, written in 1965, this little boy is exposed to beatings and abuse of just about every variety imaginable, natural disasters from fires to lightning, and a range of the very worst of human nature; he endures misinformation of all kinds (religious, political, and outright lies), being chased and captured, and intense isolation; he is both witness and victim to sickness, injury, torture, sex and sexual depravity, starvation, and animal cruelty.
Miraculously the boy reaches the age of 12 and the war ends. His ordeal, and the outcome are devastating. ...more
I read this book in less than a day, could not put it down, but could not read it without my kids around me, laughing and playing and being safe. I coI read this book in less than a day, could not put it down, but could not read it without my kids around me, laughing and playing and being safe. I couldn't read it last night in bed alone, that was too too scary. I love how McCarthy writes so cleanly, I wasn't constantly scribbling down words I don't know that I'd have to look up later; he's just straightforward and raw and somehow strangely beautiful even when he's describing post-apocolyptic carnage. The love between these two characters "the man" and "the boy," was so powerful, so moving. ...more
I listened to way too many awesome reviews of this book on NPR. The author, Ema Donoghue's accent and brilliance is way too engaging, and in the beginI listened to way too many awesome reviews of this book on NPR. The author, Ema Donoghue's accent and brilliance is way too engaging, and in the beginning I worried that I had been oversold. But by the second chapter I was wholly engaged and thrilled with the read, I loved it throughout, I read it in one day, and will highly recommend it to others.
This book came out in 2010, I wonder how much was influenced by the Jaycee Dugard experience, but regardless, this story is timeless and priceless and moving and haunting and I fully expect to have it rattling around in my head for years to come yet. ...more
This is the story of a mass murdering teen-age boy, told by his mother, in letters to his father. Kevin's parents (Eva and Franklin) are separated, haThis is the story of a mass murdering teen-age boy, told by his mother, in letters to his father. Kevin's parents (Eva and Franklin) are separated, had been at odds since he was born; Eva never seemed to recover from post-partum depression and in contrast, Franklin took to fatherhood so wholeheartedly that he sided always with Kevin, against Eva.
Lionel Shriver is a gifted writer, she did a great job of making each character's actions credible. It was frightening how evil and calculating Kevin was even as a toddler; it was heart-breaking how much career-driven Eva sacrificed to try to stay-at-home mother a child she couldn't even have a relationship with; and it made me so mad how it was never enough for Franklin, whose optimism so clouded his perception. But still I had to nitpick, how can this couple stay together and yet not communicate? How can she have him go househunting for them without even giving any indication of what kind of house she'd like to live in? Even though she totally annoyed me with her pretentious Euro-speak, I loved reading Eva's letters, I loved it that somebody could talk like about how Thai people tie their bread bags this way and the Dutch do this with their whatnot and my favorite Egyptian tunic blah blah blah and be from Racine, Wisconsin where they don't even have BAGELS. But Eva's smug uppity, superior-sounding voice just made it very hard for me to believe that she had kept any of this to herself for years on end. Even if she and Franklin had quit communicating, there's no way she'd manage to survive without a confidante or at least a therapist!
So at the end I'm still wondering, nature or (lack of) nurture? Was Kevin born the devil incarnate, or made that way by an unloving mother?...more