Kayleen Barlow – I Am No Bird

Kayleen Barlow - I Am No BirdDisclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author, Kayleen Barlow.

I stayed up until 2am last night reading this book, I couldn’t stop reading and had to know how it finished. It did take me a little while initially to get into the book, but I often find when that happens that I end up loving the book even more. And this was no exception, it was absolutely brilliant.

I’m a great lover of Jane Eyre, so I loved how this (and reading in general) was central to the book. Living less than 15 miles from Haworth and the birth place of the Bronte sisters, the book reminded me how I’ve never actually been to the Bronte Parsonage, although I’ve been to Haworth many times visiting friends of my Grandma. So I think a visit back to Haworth is in order very soon!

The book has two main characters, London and Marie. They were so well described in the book that I could almost feel like I was there with them. I loved London from the start, but it took me a little while to like Marie, to start with I thought she was a bit weak, but I can see now that this was because throughout the book she grew into herself and the person that she always knew she could be. I definitely identified more with London though, a woman who loves books and would much rather stay in with her favourite characters than put herself out there and risk getting hurt.

For about three quarters of the book I was trying to piece together how the characters of Marie and London were actually related, I could see that there were similarities between the characters and I thought that London was in some way going to save Marie from having a miserable life. But when I found out how the two stories fitted together (no spoilers here), I was completely shocked, I definitely didn’t see it coming (although maybe that was in part because it was almost 2am and I should have been asleep!). It was a perfect end to a brilliant book, I was in love with both characters and the ending was superb.

Finally, although the ending of the character’s stories was perfect, the most perfect part was Marie’s entry into the scholarship contest which was the actual end to the book. I think I cried through most of it because it was so emotionally written. Bravo, Kayleen, Bravo!!

Since I can’t quote the entire essay as my favourite quote, I have a couple of particular favourite lines from the book, although the first one is obviously Charlotte Bronte, and the basis of the book.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

“You can’t rise to the surface if you’re holding onto rocks. You can’t illuminate a dark room by being a shadow. You have to let go of the boulders sinking you. Only then will you be light, and only light will dispel the darkness.”


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