Delyna's Reviews > Catherine, Called Birdy

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
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's review
Apr 16, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: read-with-my-kids
Read in April, 2008

My biggest complaint about this book is how horribly she speaks of her father. We listened to it on CD (edition wasn't available to post) but the girl who does the reading has a very "common" accent. Combined with her sharp tongue I couldn't feel for the character. She sounded like she should be cleaning out the stables instead of the daughter of a knight and a lady. In fact you are always surprised when she mentions a servant.

It is written in diary format which is so popular for this age group BUT her abrasive personality really makes it so you could care less about her poor plight. (I wonder what I would have thought if I had read it years ago before I had my own daughters...)
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Reading Progress

04/26 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Carrie (new)

Carrie I love a critical review. This is on my shelf, but one I'll pass on sharing with my girls. Time is too short!

Elizabeth You're judging the book by the accent of the person who read it for the cd, as well as her particular interpretation of the character. If you read the words yourself, without hearing someone else's inflection, you might feel differently about the character.
I'm skeptical of how well one can evaluate a book's worth, when one has not actually read the book.

message 3: by Jannice (new)

Jannice This is the exact reason why I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER listen to the audio tapes of books. Usually the actors completely butcher it. I'd rather not read it at all if it is absolutely otherwise unavailable. I am just sorry you had to sit through a terrible thing like that. I wouldn't be able to stand 3 minutes of it.

message 4: by Heather (new)

Heather "She sounded like she should be cleaning out the stables instead of the daughter of a knight and lady"? Yikes. I hope that's not an attitude you're passing along to your daughters.

Julia I read 1/2 the book and listened to half. In random order, by chapters. And I agree. You don't care at all about her cause she sounds like a spoiled brat. Also the diary format is just used as a cushion to make it easier to write and boringer (is that word?) to read.
Ps. Good audiobook versions- The Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun! Perfect interpretation. Also of course Jim Dale & the Harry Potter books!

Stephanie Jewett Elizabethesaurus wrote: "You're judging the book by the accent of the person who read it for the cd, as well as her particular interpretation of the character. If you read the words yourself, without hearing someone else'..."

I was totally with you up until your last line. Listening to an audiobook IS "reading" the book, and listeners certainly can evaluate a book they have heard.
That being said, I agree that a narrator can make or break an audiobook. Probably half of the books I read are audio format, and more than once I have had to stop the audio and pick up the physical book because I couldn't stand the narrator.

Deirdre I agree with others, I truly hope that's not an attitude you're passing on to your daughters! Her father is a jerk who is trying to marry her off. I think I'd talk poorly about him too! I enjoyed this book so much when I was a kid and pre-teen.

Tamra Her father was abusive, frequently hitting her and verbally abusing her, she has every right to think of him poorly.

Kathy The only time the narrator in the audiobook speaks like a commoner is when she is trying to pass herself off as one to thwart one of the arranged marriages. I don't think you have your accents down. I am listening to the audiobook and I think the narrator is superb. She is SUPPOSED to sound like a typical (medieval) teen because the book is written for young adults. Adults, don't read young adult books if you are going to judge them as adults.

Frozendress I read this book more than a decade ago and I still remember her father being awful. It's an unhealthy attitude if you believe children can not dislike their parents no matter how abusive they are.

Molly Murphy Catherine was NOT a spoiled brat! And I liked her FOR her sharp tongue. Her father deserved worse than she said. Plus, she cared about people in the story... I don't get how anyone could find her an unlikeable character. (Of course, she's just like me, so I would say that.)

Grant Eagar I've listened to the audio tape five different times, I love it, I honestly don't feel a book could be better written.

Emily You have to remember what teenage girls were meant to be like at the time: dutiful and submissive. Catherine's abrasive (though I'd say this is a bit harsh) character, her wit and humour are written like this because it's the antithesis of what was expected of girls at the time. Also, if you'd actually listened to what is being said about her father and not just the narrator's accent, you might have realised that her father was not a nice person, hence why Catherine speaks poorly of him.

Terralyn Carrie, time is too short for what?? Allowing your girls to form thought out opinions for themselves? Too short to not police literature for your chiodren? Too short too not teach them that they will be good little girls and behave how their mommy dictates?
Come on!! Do you support book banning as well?? The main character in this book is outstanding. I would encourage girls to read it! Then again, they might get the message within the book.

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