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Birds of Paradise

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Birds of Paradise [Paperback]

Kathy Handley , Stephanie Blackman , Amanda Borozinski
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 15, 2011
Birds of Paradise tells the story of a lonely, long-haul trucker, Joe-Mack, who picks up a runaway, Freddie, in Las Vegas and drops him in Hollywood, offering to help him if needed. When the call comes, he reaches out to the boy and becomes embroiled in the lives of homeless kids. The stakes are high for Joe-Mack, Freddie, and a homeless girl, Starlet. The three have in common their search for love and a place to belong. Joe-Mack, despondent over leaving his unfaithful wife, yet spirited by a vision of the road angel, Freddie, searching for relief from a crazy home life and his own identity, and Starlet, who wants to become a famous actress, connect in Hollywood. Set in California's beautiful, yet challenging neighborhoods, the characters take on risks and maintain thin threads of dignity amidst troubling situations. "With their insides bleeding out bad memories, the runaways in Birds of Paradise are not only fleeing their past but also seeking their elusive threads of future happiness. Their griefs will break your heart, and their triumphs will restore it." Kevin Donahue, poet

Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhaven Books (April 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450761771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450761772
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,902,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Terrific Read August 13, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I read "Birds of Paradise" while on vacation in L.A.-- the perfect place to experience Kathy Handley's powerful portraits of young street people lost and found. Walking around Hollywood I saw her characters in the faces of the crowds and in the slumped figures in silent back alleys. She captures the rhythms, dangers, and dreams of Southern California -- dreams that are hard-wired in many an American soul and have pulled people West since the country's first inhabitants wondered what was on the other side of the mountains.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story!! September 10, 2011
By Leah
I loved this book. I couldnt put it down! The description of the places, and characters were so clear you could just imagine the whole story in your mind. I would recommend this book to everyone!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait to see the movie version! June 14, 2011
By Jamie
Format:Kindle Edition
Yes, this is one of those novels where you can't help but imagine the big screen version.
And the truck driver hero--he's good-hearted, but mighty complicated.
Hmmm...I could see Chris Cooper playing him...or perhaps a young Harry Dean Stanton.
What a wonderful and mesmerizing ride this novel takes us on--
through the back roads of Hollywood and the wide open highways.
This story is brimming with beauty, heart and wisdom. I absolutely loved this book!
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By Chynna
have to say one of the most impressive aspects of this novel is how Kathy is able to get into the minds of each character yet not lose the reader. That is a rare talent. I can only think of a handful of authors who have been able to do this successfully (including one of my writing mentors, Carol Bellacera in her awesome novel, 'Chocolate On A Stick').

What I loved about this story is that even though each of the characters is very different, they are all longing for the same things: love, acceptance and a place where they can call 'home' without feeling afraid or weird. The story starts off introducing Joe-Mack--a trucker with many issues of his own. He'd just left his wife, Gloria, because he'd found out she'd been cheating on him while he was out on the road. He left her and his two beautiful daughters behind. He sent money home to them but had to give up everything that made him feel safe.

The book flashed forward eleven years when Joe-Mack picked up a young hitchhicker named, Freddie (aka 'Vegas'). Freddie had dreams of fame and fortune in Hollywood--far from the neglectful life he lived in Las Vegas with his gaming addicted father and mentally unstable mother. Joe-Mack took the young man under his protective wing giving him a couple of meals, a safe ride and many pearls of wisdom. What he didn't realize was how connected he'd become with young Freddie's life.

Freddie met up with a young girl bitten with the acting bug (Jen aka 'Starlet') who both squatted with a few other runaways/homeless teens. I'm not going to ruin the whole story for you because you totally need to read the story from beginning to end. But know that each of the characters Kathy breathes life into in this story are connected in some way...directly or distantly.
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3.0 out of 5 stars well on her way! January 5, 2012
I liked the ideas this book set forth, and the heart with which it was written. The author clearly is passionate, detail oriented, and able to pull forth description very easily. This debut novel is well thought out and interesting to read, but I can't say I loved it, because I have read and loved a lot of books. The author has much room for improvement in her future works, but she is definately on the right track and well on her way!
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