3 out of 4 stars
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We're products of a combination of different factors — each of us are shaped by our circumstances, DNA, and experiences. However, what we chose to make of those things matter. Bird of Passage is Sherry Hobb's account of her life, struggles, joys, and the various factors that made her the person she is.
Born in 1947 to two middle-class parents, Sherry lived an idyllic life for a while. Like a bird of passage that never stays in one spot, she began to travel with her family in what seemed like adventures at the time. Sherry never stayed long in any particular place. Hence, she picked up bits of knowledge here and there and used them to shape her future on the go. During one such trip, her mother met the man who would alter the course of their lives.
The thing I love most about this book is the use of metaphors. The author's descriptions are made much clearer by using creative metaphors that bring the scenes to life. I'm a fan of authors who understand what they write so much that they can easily compare it to things that make it possible for the reader to visualize and share in the experience. This, alongside the images at the end of some of the chapters, makes it more enjoyable to read the book and relate to the narrative.
I loved the book's structure too. It was divided into different sections containing different phases in the author's life. Intriguing stories were told briefly from each period. There were also sections for each of the crucial people in her life. The book was organized chronologically — her birth, early life, adulthood, and reality at the time of writing this book. Even the atmosphere of each scene was fitting. It was as though she went back in time to relive those experiences and then transferred both the details and the emotions to the book. It amazed me how she could so clearly recall and organize the information to the minutest detail. A lot of people, including me, would struggle to remember even the most recent things.
The version of the author we see in the book is consistent with her opinion of herself. She displays a remarkable self-awareness and willingness to learn and grow. There are a lot of lessons to learn from this book.
The only issue I had with this book was the plethora of errors; I reckon it wasn't professionally edited. Though it was the author's debut work, I'd still rate it three out of four stars. I'd recommend it to people who love reading chronologically ordered autobiographies with lots of details.
Bird of Passage
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