Tara's Reviews > Catherine, Called Birdy

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
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Sep 27, 10

bookshelves: historical-fiction, ya-novels

This book is a quick read. The story takes place in the medieval period and centers around Lady Catherine (Birdy) a fourteen year old girl. The story is written as a series of journal entries written by Birdy at the encouragement of her brother Edward who is a monk. Edward believes even girls should know how to read and write, so he taught his sister to do so. Birdy writes of her plight as the daughter of a Lord who wants to marry her off to the highest bidder. She hates the thought of being auctioned of like an animal almost as much as she hates the duties of a Lady. She dreams of people she would rather be and lives she would rather live. Ultimately, she learns that she cannot run from her problems or always be in control of her situation. What she can control is who she is and how she handles the things that come her way.

The story is simple and sweet. There is nothing really surprising or terribly exciting about it, but it is an excellent look at what life was like in medieval England. The author describes everything from the social and economic workings of that society to the food they ate and the day to day activities of the people living during this time. I really enjoyed learning about that culture and seeing some similarities to our own. I also liked reading about what they ate, although I won't be trying eel pudding or figs stuffed with hard boiled eggs any time soon!
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