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Looking After Pigeon

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Of Maud Carol Markson's first novel, When We Get Home, Andre Dubus wrote, "It may be the best story we have about marital love." In this, her second novel, Markson once again explores the sometimes humorous, and always complex, realm of family and love. Her characters struggle to answer the questions "who will care for me? How will I care for myself?"
One spring day in New
Paperback, 190 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Permanent Press (NY)
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Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
A lovely novel about the affects a broken marriage has on a child. Told from the perspective of Pigeon, a 5 year old girl, who is dealing with the reality that her father has abandoned them, as her summer unfolds we watch the damage caused by the uncertainty of love. The book is both humorous and poignantly touching at times. With a simple yet poetic voice, Maud Carol Markson creates a family of characters that draw from us the memory of our own complex fears and insecurities and make us ache as ...more
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
With simple yet elegant language, Ms. Markson allows Pigeon to tell her story. Pigeon, the youngest of three children named for birds, struggles to understand the big changes that happen within her family in one eventful summer: her father loses his job and leaves the family; her mother, who doesn't seem the most stable of mothers on a good day, desperately moves herself and the children to her brother's house on the Jersey Shore; her brother discovers a unique gift; her sister tries to find lov ...more
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written novel about an engaging character named Pigeon, whose family is thrown into turmoil one summer when her father disappears. The voice is Pigeon's, when she's older, yet it evokes so poignantly and humorously a young child's point of view about the world -- and the family -- she is in. This is a book that holds me from start to finish through the sheer power and delight of the way in which the story is told. I love how deftly and compellingly the story unfolds; I love ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Judging from the title of this book, Pigeon needs looking after. Unfortunately, although Pigeon is 5 years old when the events of the book take place, far too much of the adult Pigeon who's telling the story creeps in. The result is a somewhat unevenly precocious 5 year old, who hardly seems to need any looking after. Far too often, I found myself saying "there's no way a 5 year old would understand that!" but then saying "if she understood that so easily, why can't she understand this?" Not onl ...more
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. After finishing it last night, I am still not sure if I liked it or not. I was DEFINITELY excited to win a First Reads book for the very first time, however.

5-year-old Pigeon, the main character, her two siblings, and her mother move into her uncle's house after her father abandons the family. The story takes place during Pigeon's first summer at the beach home. If I'm to understand correctly, the book is loosely based on the experiences of the au
Jan 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
I rolled my eyes and groaned when I read the first line of this book, "My mother named us after birds." I continued to roll my eyes and groan as the theme of flying away and then returning to the nest were overplayed again and again throughout the book.

This story is told through the eyes and experiences of Pigeon, supposedly a five year old girl. I say supposedly because the way the author describes her thoughts and actions are unlike any kindergartener I know. Equally unconvincing in their rol
Jul 16, 2009 rated it liked it
My mother got a bound galley edition of this book to read, and passed it on to me.

I enjoyed this story of one summer that drastically changed a young girl's life. Her parents separated, they moved to the ocean to live in her uncle's house, her mom started dating a new guy who tried a little too hard to win over the kids, her sister got pregnant and married just to name a few. Told in retrospect, the narrator is writing this story down in an effort to exorcise the demons. We don't really know at
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a "Goodreads giveaway" and had not read the author's other book so I did not have any expectations. The book is a quick read and perfect summer/beach reading, because so much of the story centers on being by the shore. Overall I enjoyed the book and was even surprised to find myself wanting to keep reading to find what happens to the characters. My only "negative" comment is that it seemed hard for me to believe that Pigeon was only 5. She seemed so much more developed, matur ...more
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Pigeon is the youngest of 3 children whose mother, Joan, named the children after birds:sister Dove is the oldest and then brother, Robin. Joan is a strange mother who regrets getting married young. Pigeon tells the story looking back at all that happened when she was 5. Her father leaves after losing his job. Mother Joan and the 3 children move into Uncle Edward's small beach house. He is not home much. Joan finds work and a boyfriend. Dove becomes a waitress and Robin hangs around a fortune te ...more
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
The narrator of this story is a five-year old child named Pigeon who describes how each member of the family has been affected by difficulties in her parents' marriage. Having enjoyed other books written from the perspective of a child narrator, I was excited to receive this book in a First Reads giveaway. The author paints vivid pictures of the main characters----their personalities, hopes, fears, etc. Although I felt I came to know them well, I'm not sure that any of them rank high among those ...more
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: the wife of my company's CEO wrote this book, and I think there's some "Habits of Highly Successful People" self-help tome that recommends never leaving a negative digital footprint in regards to such matters. Still: I loved the way the characters were described in short, hard bursts, just enough to understand how and why they collide and conflict with one another. Any brief moments of sentimentalism are usually well-earned by the story. I was absorbed, entertained, and very imp ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Pigeon is a 5-year old girl who is really looking after herself after her father abandons the family (her mother was probably always self absorbed and otherwise occupied). The book spans a summer and dealt with the heavy topics abandonment, teen pregnancy, child neglect and homosexuality. It was mildly interesting, but nothing really compelling in the story. There was some good fodder for thought in the afterword, but it was too little too late. Some of the best lines in the whole book were ther ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I got this book from a goodreads draw. I got into the character Pigeon and felt sad for her at times and happy for her at other times. I like how it was through her eyes and how it showed how five year olds think. Though I think that she knows more then most kids her age do. I enjoyed reading this book.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This book was my first Goodreads First Reads book. I am so glad that I had the pleasure of reading this book. The characters are well developed and I felt a genuine sympathy for them throughout the book. Although the book isn't available until July, I would highly recommend checking it out when it becomes available. A quick read with lots to offer. ...more
Apr 22, 2009 is currently reading it
Just won this in a drawing from Goodreads. I will be giving a full review upon completion.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
The content was overall interesting but the delivery was lackluster. For such a short book it took me too long to finish.
Ginny Terndrup
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a sensitive , well written account of a life a a was great!
Marc Hirsch
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable book. All the more interesting personally as I knew the author in high school and was curious as to where she derived the core of the story.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Here's my new book review for IBR.

Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sara by: first reads
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
Lovely book, quick read. I had no expectations, as it was a book I received from a giveway on GR. I did enjoy the look of the past thru the eyes of a child. Great summer read!
Marco DiGiulio
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Dec 24, 2013
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Jun 24, 2010
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Apr 16, 2009
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Oct 07, 2015
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Apr 20, 2009
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Oct 12, 2009
rated it it was ok
Apr 24, 2009
Jennifer Conner
rated it it was ok
Nov 20, 2009
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Oct 19, 2009
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Sep 22, 2010
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Released July 1st 1 4 Jul 04, 2009 07:37PM  
Maud Carol Markson is the author of When We Get Home and Looking After Pigeon (available at She has taught writing at the University of New Hampshire and Cabrini College. She now lives in California with her husband and son, and her dog, Molly, who is her constant writing companion. ...more

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