I wondered a bit who the audience was for this book. Sitting down reading it as an adult, I understand some the jokes are on her, and all 13 year old girls. For example: “I am near fourteen and have never yet seen a hanging. My life is barren.” As a 43 year old man, I get that we are meant to laugh at Catherine because she's speaking like a 13 year old girl would today. I'm not sure, however, that a 13 year old girl would find that as funny. Maybe they would though.
Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second time I've read Catherine, Called Birdy, and I still enjoyed it fourteen years later. The book is hilarious in parts, moving in others, and Catherine acts and speaks and thinks like a real 13 year old girl with real (albeit medieval) problems. Some of those problems will be familiar to 21st century thirteen year olds - friends, boys, crushes,chores, parents. And some will be shocking - arrange marriage to a man the same age as your father, for example. Or fleas. Or witnessing an execution of boys younger than you. Much up for discussion here. Cushman's world of 1290 is made to seem both near and far from our own.
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