Linda M. Martin- This Bird Flew Away
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Back Cover Blurb: What is real love?
The whole world wants to know.
They should ask Bria Jean, because she has it all figured out. Opinionated, stubborn and full of woe, Bria would tell you real love is having one person you can always count on through thick and thin. For her, that’s Jack. And it doesn’t matter to her that she’s nine and he’s twenty-three — not one bit.
When, at the age of twelve, Bria dissapears, he and his aunt Mary search for her, and when she surfaces, injured, abused and traumatized, Jack fights to become her guardian with no idea of the trials ahead of him. By then, Bria is thirteen going on thirty, full of her own ideas on how her life should run and with some very fixed notions about who is in charge.
WOW. What a read.
The story begins with Bria, at ten years old she has already had a tough life. Domestic violence coupled with physical and emotional abuse, Bria’s notion of the world is formed based on these early experiences. When she is abandoned by her mother after the death of her step father, Bria is taken in by Jack and his aunt Mary for a short while before she goes off to live with other relatives along with her half-sister Tara. Bria strikes up a trusting friendship with Jack who is thirteen years her senior. He is studying to be a lawyer and becomes one of the few people in her life who she can truly count on.
Bria, a determined and strong-willed young girl makes the decision to leave home and get help for her and Tara and save them from further abuse. She runs away in search of Jack, but doesn’t make it. She becomes a victim of the child sex trade. She is only twelve.
When Bria is reunited with Jack and Mary her sense of self is damaged and she struggles to make sense of her experience and feel safe again. Bria’s strength and determination is amazing and it gets her through this turbulent time along with the help of her trusting friend Jack.
This story shows us how a young child’s innocence is stolen, and how she fights back and tries to make sense of this scary, unsafe world.
This story is told from the perspectives of Bria and her aunt Mary. I was instantly drawn in and felt Bria’s pain, confusion and anger alongside her. I cried. I laughed. I hoped that she would find happiness. It’s not often that a story like this comes along and reminds you of what is truly important in life.
Having worked in the child protection field inAustraliawith abused children and now working with women, some with childhood trauma I am well aware that stories like Bria’s are not uncommon. I have also read many memoirs where survivors have shared their experiences of trauma. But what I think Linda does so well in her fiction novel, This Bird Flew Away is to show the range of emotions and inner conflicts a young child’s experience after trauma in an objective but empathetic fashion. The range of perspectives and Bria’s interactions with those around her makes the people real- flaws and all.
I must warn you though; this story is not for those with a sensitive stomach. But if you can stick out the bad parts and stay alongside Bria as she transforms from a girl into a woman you will be pleasantly rewarded with this well told story.
Bria’s relationship with Jack did initially make me squirm at times (probably because of my own professional background- on face value their relationship just seems wrong). I felt protective of Bria. When will this man abuse her trust, like every other? But as the story evolved, despite my unease with their age difference I can see that Jack and Bria truly love each other. They know each other at a very deep and trusting level and I think well could any other man have looked after and kept her so emotionally contained over all those years? If a warm-hearted, gentle and caring man like Jack was not in her life- Bria’s life would have taken a much different course- most likely for the worse.
This Bird Flew Away identifies many psychosocial issues in our society. I think it’s an important reminder for people to think about where someone has come from, their early experiences before they judge who they are today. Young women are often judged by their behaviour; whether it be promiscuity or other risk taking behaviours – but there is a reason behind this behaviour- conscious or not. What this story shows nicely is how early experiences can shape the way we view the world.
This Bird Flew Away is a truly touching story of pain, survival and hope. Although, the ending was not exactly what I had hoped, I was thrilled to find a sneak preview for the sequel. I am looking forward to finding out what happens with Jack and Bria in the future. 5/5!
Author Bio: Retired after thirty years’ experience as an outreach worker in child protection, Lynda is now a full-time writer, editor, coach for new writers and author. She writes for many sites on the internet, including several child protection societies, journals and her personal publishing site on Hubpages under the name of lmmartin. She is currently involved in a series of three novels, of which This Bird Flew Away is the first, co-authoring a political thriller, producing articles for both the internet and print and working with a small group of aspiring writers.
Author Website (http://www.thisbirdflewaway.com/)
Lynda’s Blog (http://lyndammartin.blogspot.com/)
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