Five stars, read in June 2015.
I immediately loved everything about this book, especially the protagonist. It’s not an easy book to read, in the sense that it’s full of sharp and overwhelming pain. But in the sense that I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours, and would gladly read hundreds more pages about Jewel, it is very easy. It’s a beautiful book, and although it turns out Crystal Chan hasn’t written anything else for me to read, I’ll have no problem revisiting Bird in the future.
As an adult, I have frequently had the experience of realizing that someone doesn’t care about me as much as I care about them. This is incredibly painful, and I’m able to deal with it by deciding to control my interactions with them. I don’t allow myself to seek them out, I don’t depend on them, and although the hurt has yet to actually go away, I’m at least able to minimize occasions where it comes up. How can you do any of that when you’re a child and the people who don’t care about you are your parents? That’s the situation Jewel is in, and it’s heartbreaking.
I want to put this book in the same category as The Wednesday Wars, Okay for Now, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, all of which are among my favorites now. If you liked any of those, you’ll have a sense for how lovely and poignant this book is.