‘The Thorn Birds’ by Colleen McCullough

‘The Thorn Birds’ by Colleen McCullough‘There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain … Or so says the legend.’

This bittersweet paragraph is the main reason why I purchased this novel {that and the fact that Amazon kept recommending it to me over and over and over; ad nauseum. So, apparently Mr. Amazon, your ploys and tricks work}. There were actually four books that have been repeatedly referenced in my sphere of life whether by friends, colleagues, amazon recommendations, news clippings …

•  The Thorn Birds
•  The Count of Monte Cristo
•  Emma
•  Anna Karenina

I have decided to give them a each perusal; let’s see what I can learn from these pages. At first, my response to the ‘The Thorns Birds’ was not too favorable.

I can not stand to sit through books where woman are abused or beaten or made to work like slaves or assumed as stupid – and then to add insult to injury these same women blindly sit around, grateful of their lot in life and accepting of this horrible treatment {my feminists proclivities are rearing their head … I feel them coming… }. If I read those types of books, I end up getting uber-sensitive to my own lot as a female and picking ridiculous fights with my husband, male friends, male co-workers, etc. – when my life is truly not oppressed any more than the status quo. Thankfully, my first impressions of this book were totally wrong.

Turns out these women aren’t weak little twits blindly accepting their lot as females; the characters work as hard as their men counterparts, recognize the restrictions placed upon them by the time and their sex, and quietly but resolutely rail against female bounds in their own way.

‘… her character, which he saw as the perfect female character, passive yet enormously strong. No rebel; on the contrary. All her life she would obey, move within the boundaries of her female form.’

And though this book is chock full of gentlemen – the story is really about three generations of women Fiona, Meghann, and Justine; and loves lost and found within their lifetime. It is an epic story filled with sadness and growth, love and pain; it is just an incredibly honest read.

‘No man sees himself in a mirror as he really is, nor any woman.’

Turns out this book is actually a lovely read – once you get through the first 100 semi-bland pages or so.