Nelly's Reviews > Catherine, Called Birdy

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
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Mar 27, 12

Read from March 24 to 27, 2012

This book has one of my favorite protagonists of all time! Catherine, called Birdy, is tenacious, willful and incredibly witty for her 13 years. For example, when debating how to break up a romance between two people she doesn't want together and having heard that a pig might be helpful, (due to a Medieval superstition), she ponders, "If only I could arrange for them to meet a pig. Or, even better, a weasel. Where do I get a weasel?" When she finds no pig nor weasel to aid in her plight, she tries to take the advice of another superstition. While the happy couple is on their way to supper, she "threw a fistful of dirt at each of them, spattering [them] all" in order to cast a curse on their love. I was literally laughing out loud at at her ploys and fancies.

Karen Cushman does an amazing job portraying the life of a noble girl during the Middle Ages. Not only does Cushman's passion for history show in the style of her writing, she manages to create an incredible piece of literature that doesn't read as just a list of things from the 1200s. This is an intricately woven and well developed, diary-style novel with subtle, yet well fleshed out characters, scenery and events.

The coming of age of Birdy is a pleasure to read and I couldn't help but fall in love with this clever protagonist. The reason this book gets 4 stars from me instead of 5 is because quite a bit of it is not very eventful. While the "boring" parts serve to give a realistic feeling to the diary and to help immerse the reader in the time period in which the story is set, they are, nevertheless, very dull and I can see many readers getting discouraged with the book and giving up before they ever get to the "good" parts of the story.

I'd recommend this book to every girl of about middle-school age, to anyone interested in English history or the Middle Ages, and to anyone who has a few hours to give Birdy a chance to get to know her. She's well worth the effort.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Wendy (new)

Wendy I wanted to read this in elementary school, but I'm pretty sure I never did. Let me know how you like it!


Nelly Wendy wrote: "I wanted to read this in elementary school, but I'm pretty sure I never did. Let me know how you like it!"

I think you should read it. I really enjoyed it and it's not very long.


message 3: by Irene (new)

Irene Nathan was actually the one who read this (I did read The Midwife's Apprentice, though, which is by the same author), and he really liked it. He must have been a girl in middle school.


Nelly Irene wrote: "Nathan was actually the one who read this (I did read The Midwife's Apprentice, though, which is by the same author), and he really liked it. He must have been a girl in middle school."

I saw that he read this and was very surprised! I can see him liking the humor in this book, though. That was the best part of the whole thing.


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