Catherine, Called Birdy. Karen Cushman. 1994. HarperCollins. 212 pages.
I am commanded to write an account of my days. I am bit by fleas and plagued by family. That is all there is to say.
This children's book set in 1290 (1291) won a Newbery Honor in 1995.
I wanted to like it more than I did. But. It just didn't quite work for me. Why? Well, I found the heroine, Catherine, annoying. I think readers are supposed to like her for her spunky independence. I think readers are supposed to admire her stubbornness and rebellious attitude.
I am NOT saying that Catherine's arranged marriage to a much, much older man, a man who disgusted her, was a good thing. I am not saying that I wanted her to just mindlessly say yes to the marriage just because it is what her father wanted for her. But I couldn't help finding Catherine just a tiny bit obnoxious. She was just so disrespectful, so disobedient, so strong-willed. It was just so draining to listen to her whine in each and every entry.
I'm also not sure how realistic the novel is. I'm not sure how many daughters were that educated. I'm also not sure how many girls kept diaries during that time period. I'm not saying that it was impossible, just that it was convenient. Speaking of being convenient, the ending, well that was extremely convenient.
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews