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Monday, June 6, 2022

Book review: Little Bird by Tiffany Meuret

 


Book links: AmazonGoodreads


AUTHOR INFO: Tiffany Meuret is a writer of monsters and twisted fairy tales. Her publications include Shoreline of Infinity, Luna Station Quarterly, Ellipsis Zine, and others. When not reading or writing, she is usually binge watching comfortable sitcoms from her childhood or telling her kids to put on their shoes for the tenth time. She lives in sunny Arizona with her husband, two kids, two chihuahuas, gecko, and tortoise.

Publisher: Black Spot Books (June 7, 2022) Length: 226 pages



It's an interesting read, but not what I expected based on the cover and synopsis. The cover is beautiful, and when I saw it on NetGalley, I immediately hit the "request" button. I expected a creepy read; instead, I got a quirky one.

Josie Lauer would laugh at her life if it weren't so miserable. Freshly divorced, she mourns her father's death and finds relief in vodka and daily routines (work, playing with the dog, dinner, vodka). Then, one day, she discovers the vine-like plant sprouting in her backyard and running amok. To make things even stranger, the talking skeleton, Skelly, occupies the throne made of vines. Naturally, Skelly wants to talk to Josie about things (life, grief, family, etc.). And so their relationship begins.

There's also a new neighbor who seems to know quite a bit about mysterious vines and talking skeletons. The mystery is why Skelly insists on pulling Josie out of her self-isolation.

The book's tone changes from humorous to melancholy but never becomes depressing. Although Josie has a drinking problem, she doesn't wake up, wasted, in her vomit. Her issue is more about losing control of her life than the destructive effects on her health. In other words, she's not a role model, but there's no extreme content here either.

Josie's narrative is quite distinct; it's full of wit, self-deprecation, and self-mockery. Her disdain for everyone except her little dog Po makes her observations about life and others (and her circumstances) funny, but also sad. Po is the only reason she goes outside. Her snarkiness masks serious mental health problems, but also makes the read entertaining.

However, the story itself is a bit boring, especially in the middle. I admit I was expecting more horror and less pseudo-philosophical asides. Things get repetitive, and I considered stopping halfway through but decided against it. I wanted to know the ending and the resolution. I'm glad I did - the ending is gratifying and strong.

I'm not fully sold on it, but I'll tell you this. If you're looking for something different, quick to read, humorous and melancholic at the same time, you can't go wrong with it.


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