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How To Make A Bird [Kindle Edition]

Martine Murray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A beautiful novel that captures the aching of a teenager ready to heal.

It's dawn, on an empty road in the countryside. Empty, except for the girl in the long, red evening gown, standing next to a bicycle, and looking back at the home she's about to leave. Mannie's ready to start a new life and forget the terrible things that have happened here, but there are questions that need to be answered before she can let go. Questions about her elegant but unstable mother, her brother who's always overshadowed her, and his friend Harry Jacob, who just might be Mannie's boyfriend . . .

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–Fed up with her boring country life and thrown off-kilter by recent family tragedies, 17-year-old Mannie dons her mother's long red dress, boards a train to Melbourne, and sets off into the world planning to get as far away from her everyday existence as possible. Though she starts her journey feeling sure that she is doing right by herself, she encounters memories from her past that tug at her heart and shake her resolve. Should she truly move on to become a new version of herself or go back home and make the best of her situation? The transitions between Mannie's present day and past are integrated seamlessly. The time period is the late '70s, but this is only revealed in small hints (e.g., a passing mention that Star Wars is in theaters). The story itself, while well written, is not exciting, and Mannie is not easy to identify with. The only scenes evoking any emotion are the ones with her Grandmother Ivy, and when she recounts her brother's death. Despite the author's ability as a wordsmith, readers are not likely to stick with this story to the end.Melyssa Malinowski, Parkville High School, Baltimore, MD
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In an emotion-laden attempt to leave heartbreak behind, 17-year-old Manon runs away from her rural Australian home to Melbourne. Her experiences there allow her to return to her home and remnants of family with newfound respect and love. Murray crafts beautiful and evocative prose to mark each turn in Mannie's inward and outward journeys, all while maintaining tension in revealing who, within the family, has departed and how. Each family member plays a critical part in Manon's makeup: she wears her dramatic mother's red dress; still feels the limp sustained in a fall she took playing with her brother; seeks wise counsel from her grandmother; and finds herself able to call her gentle father for a ride home at the end of her adventure. Readers of John Marsden, Melina Marchetta, and Judith Clarke will find a welcome addition to the pantheon of Australian young-adult authors. Grades 8-12. --Francisca Goldsmith

Product Details

  • File Size: 323 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0439669510
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (June 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003K1551A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,813,351 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair July 18, 2010
By Tina
How To Make A Bird truly meets my definition of a coming of age book for YA.

The novel is ladden with "moments" that are geared towards helping the main character better understand her life and her role in it - as well as her role in the family dynamics. In fact, this novel is tied into family drama and all the joys and pains it can bring.

While I did like the basic premise, I found the book incredibly heavy to read - including the writing which was a little bit more "prosaic" than it really needed to be. In my mind, this story was hard enough to read without having to deal with some writing that could be considered, in my opinion, a little bit over the top at times.

I think this novel was incredibly well intentioned - but maybe just not my style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fly Like a Bird January 29, 2011
I'll start this review by letting you know that there isn't a way to write it without giving away some of the story. I'll do my best to avoid as much as I can but if you are interested in getting the full emotional experience (and you should be) then I would say skipping down to the last paragraph of this review will assure that you do so as spoiler free as possible.

How to Make a Bird is a beautifully written but tragic story of how one girl wades through family dysfunction as she attempts to deal with a variety of unimaginable circumstances. The story showcases Mannie as she takes an emotional journey through her past and present to find much needed acceptance of her mother's mental instability and then her brother's surprising death. Though this journey is one primarily of self-discovery she also has a number of realizations about the role both her family and various friends play in events as well.

What a fantastic voyage it was, well for the reader anyway. It wasn't periphery, no no, it jumped right into the sorrowful heart of the matter, directly from the jump. I knew immediately that Mannie was dealing with a great deal of emotional turmoil but the question really was why. Enter Murray's phenomenal writing. She did an excellent job of both showing and telling Mannie's story. The true depth of emotion was endless but was laid out in small pieces. I enjoyed putting piece of the puzzle together until finally the full picture was revealed. A picture, not of a strong and happy family, but rather one of parents leading separate lives together and children who were vying for any moments of normalcy they could find. Ultimately events that end in tragic circumstances.

Mannie's endurance was no small feat.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great coming of age story! August 5, 2010
By Myckyee
How to Make a Bird by Martine Murray is a well-written coming of age story. A young teenage girl, dealing with loss and the grief it brings, sets out on a journey to discover exactly what's happened to her suddenly upended life.

The story moves at a pace to hold the reader's interest. The author has a great talent of using words to describe an image perfectly. From page 190:

'I got up off the wall. My bare feet felt the footpath and I looked at them poking out from my dress like little white mice. I felt fond of them. I don't know why. Probably because they'd always been there, whenever I expected them to be, and I knew they would walk me away.'

There's subtle humour in there too and I liked that - it helped to lighten the tone of the book, especially during the dark moments (and there are a few). As a matter of fact, I thought when I first started reading that the tone of the book was very sad and though it is in parts, in others it's funny and sweet and that gives balance to the story. I think every young girl would be able to relate to the main character's yearning to have the latest style in footwear.

How to Make a Bird reminded me a bit of the Miriam Toews novel A Complicated Kindness. That one is also about a young girl coping with her difficult teenage years, but for plot, wordsmithing and just overall likeability, How to Make a Bird comes out ahead by a long shot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars this book is gold September 14, 2012
By Ren
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this book is amazing. its worth reading. i liked it so much that i used excerpts from it in a writing class I taught.
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