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March 2018: Autobiography > H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald - 3 Stars

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 17, 2018 01:46PM) (new)

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald by Helen Macdonald

I somewhat begrudgingly gave this 3 stars but don't currently feel any ambition to tackle composing a lengthy review to provide an adequate explanation.

Briefly, one thing I found odd and ironic, is how the author admired the independent nature of goshawks in their natural habitat, yet she took that away from Mabel by making the bird totally dependent on her during training. Also, it also would have been more interesting to me if Ms. Macdonald had written more about her father, instead of inserting so much information from The Goshawk by T.H. White, which seemed like "filler" material. Those two elements made me feel disconnected from whatever message the author was trying to get across.

(Noting even though the author does write about some of her childhood experiences, this is probably more a memoir than an autobiography.)


message 2: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8617 comments I felt very much the same as you did.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for letting me know, LC. :-) It seems some readers have strong positive opinions about this book, so I was almost afraid to say anything negative. I am glad many readers liked it, but I just didn't. I even considered a 2 star rating. This was difficult for me to rate.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) Thank you for warning me off this one - the things you didn't like, I wouldn't either.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

You are welcome, Cheryl. There are other aspects of the story you may like though, as this seems to be a popular book.


message 6: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2938 comments I liked the book a bit more than you did, although I understand completely all of the points you made. I kept waiting for more details about her relationship to her father.
The structure of her book was unusual. Knowing that she is both a poet and an English professor, helped me see some kind of sense in her prose and her content.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Jgrace, you made a good point. The best part of the book was the writing. The wording flowed well, even though the structure was unusual. I should have mentioned that in my review. Thanks for pointing out the author's background in poetry.


message 8: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments I agree with your review entirely.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, Linda. :-)


message 10: by Yvonne (new)

Yvonne | 96 comments I read this book for the recent Science topic and I agree that it had a bit more about THWhite than I thought was necessary but I enjoyed a lot of the falconry information and personal experience of the author. (I chose it for Science because I heard about it on NPR Science Friday) As you found, I agree the writing was excellent. Glad you found an intrigue for non-fiction; through PBT I have also expanded my reading and auto-biography/memoir is a new fave!


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Yvonne wrote: "I have also expanded my reading and auto-biography/memoir is a new fave! ...."

That's great, Yvonne! PBT definitely allows and encourages members to try new genres and subjects, especially nonfiction.


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