Author: Mark MJ Green
Release date: October 27th, 2022
It’s been a number of years since I connected with Mark, through book reviews and a shared love of horror and family. I’m always excited to see when people take the dive into writing fiction and starting to find their way on their writing journey, and Mark has been putting in the time and due diligence to find his voice and start to put out longer pieces. Now, when his previous piece, ‘Abortus,’ was released, it wasn’t something that caught my attention. The synopsis is intriguing, but the perceived subject matter just wasn’t something that I thought would connect with me, so I passed on it. But when this, ‘Birdsong,’ was announced, I was super excited for it and really wanted to see what Mark had created.
What I liked: The story is heartbreaking, but also quite riveting. We follow an elderly woman, gripped by the sad claws of dementia, trying to determine what is real and what isn’t. When she befriends a blackbird, she seems to have made a connection, but this connection comes with a hallucinatory effect that steers her story for the rest of the way.
Green has does a remarkable job of creating a character that the reader instantly loves, but also instantly feels for. She’s lost her husband. At times she remembers this, at other times she’s searching for him, wondering where he’s gone. Is he gone to the store? A walk? each time it happens, the readers heart breaks just a little bit more.
The ending – while telegraphed far earlier in this novella, is still hauntingly poetic and just soul crushing. That we get to experience through our main characters eyes, as well as from the POV of a random passing stranger offers it another level of sadness. I was holding onto hope that somehow we’d get a different ending, but was still ‘happy’ Green went where the story needed to go, no matter how awful it made me feel.
What I didn’t like: There’s a care aide/home worker featured within that visits our main character that really had no reason to be in the story, other than to call for help near the ending. I would’ve maybe liked more of the two of them connecting so that we see some of their relationship building and making what happens – both to the worker and at the end – even more powerful.
Why you should buy this: This novella is an easy one sitting read, but it’ll stay with you long after you’re done. Emotional, impactful and based on something many of us have had some experience with the elderly people in our lives, ‘Birdsong’ raced along, while keeping me on the brink of crying. Really enjoyed this one.
One thought on “Book Review: Birdsong by Mark MJ Green”
Oh gosh, even your review made me sad. This must be a heck of an emotional story!