Customer Reviews: The Bluebird and the Sparrow (Women of the West #10)
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VINE VOICEon April 9, 2000
Yes, Berta is bitter and biting at times, but "whiney" (as another reviewer calls her)? I consider this one of the top Janette Oke books I've read. Berta's pessimism and resistance against affection certainly do keep the reader from admiring her as a character, but (once she becomes an adult) she doesn't "whine." She has allowed bitterness and a misinterpretation of the past to enslave her, and her story is really a rather tragic one. Yet this less-than-appealing character serves as a vivid lesson against holding grudges and focus on self; and she does finally see her flaws at the end of the story.

This story is also good for struggling sisters (don't let your differences create such a gulf that you can't even have an honest conversation anymore), and even for new moms (try to get behind each child's eyes). All in all, a well-written morality tale that demonstrates how not to be but, in traditional Oke fashion, doesn't leave the reader without hope for reconciliation.
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on October 23, 1999
I read this book, as I've read all of J. Oke's books, expecting a really good read. The book was written in much the same way all the others are; easy-to-read, "brain candy" with a Christian message. I like to read her books because I don't have to be worried about exposing my mind to questionable (immoral) content. In this regard, she was right on target. However.....
I did NOT like the characters in this particular book. Two sisters are compared throughout the entire book, one very sweet and popular, the other not as pretty, and very bitter about the fact that baby sis gets all the attention. I found myself wanting to slap the whiney sister. No wonder no one wanted to be her beau. I think that it had way more to do with ugliness of personality (whiney, grating, irritating.... I really did NOT like this woman) than of physical appearance. I got really really tired of listening to her little pity parties. (WOW! I sound so harsh!) Finally, too near the end of the book, she finds happiness. By then, I didn't care. I was too sick of her.
Frankly, I could not WAIT to get through this one, and although I will continue to read Oke's other books over and over again, this is one to which I will never again subject myself.
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on October 3, 2000
Berta is 2 years old, and life so far seems great. She has great parents, and is learning new things every day. Then, one day, her mother has a baby, Glenna.
Glenna grows up beautiful, bubbly, and friendly. Berta, determined not to be influenced by her sister or the fashions of the day, decides that she will not grow up like Glenna. She grows up to be prim and sensible, and always believes that her looks are inferior to Glenna's.
During this book, I just wanted to shout at Berta to lighten up a little bit, but I can also relate to some of her feelings. In the end, though, She and her sister are both happy.
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on July 28, 2000
This book seemed to dwell on the issue being presented more than most of her other books, but I have to admit that maybe it took that for the reader to realize how stubborn we ourselves can be! Even if you're unaware of it, there is usually a spot in your life that you Will Not change, even though you know you are being silly, childish or annoying. And for the people who'd identify more with Glenna, well maybe this will give you an insight to someone in your life.
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on July 2, 2014
Janette Oke does it again. This is a great story, has it all. Two sisters have such different views of family, friends and life. This is an emotional work. At times I wanted to throttle the main character Berta. She had things all wrong and was so long seeing that. She salvaged her life, in peace and happiness. Its never too late to learn.
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on April 21, 2014
Thank you! Every book I read from Janette One is like reading a story about myself in one way or another . I learn so much about myself and the word of God is brought to me so clearly and in my reading of Jeanette"s books b err ings me that much closer to the love of God.
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on November 24, 2015
"There was such a contrast between her life and Glenna’s. Glenna had it all. Looks and… yes, her prettiness had made life easy for her. […] Suddenly Berta rose and tossed the letter on the small table beside her chair. Life was so desperately – uneven. It made her angry."

Berta always knew her younger sister Glenna got the most attention. Glenna was the pretty and happy one. No one could help liking her from the start. Berta, she was just plain. Plain and unnoticed. Already as a kid she decided that she would be the total opposite of Glenna. Year after year, she’d ignore the fact that Glenna had it all and would live her own life, however empty it seemed to be. But as God reaches out to Berta’s heart, she learns that, whatever the circumstances are, she can love and be loved.

This was the second time I read the book and I cried anyway. The Bluebird and the Sparrow is a beautiful tale of how attitude and choices determine someone’s character more than circumstances. For years, Berta has believed she wasn’t loved, that Glenna was loved more because she was so pretty. It takes a lot for her to understand that she can be loved just the way she is. That message speaks to a lot of us.
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on October 8, 2001
I think that The Bluebird and The Sparrow is wonderfully true about certain families. I tells the reader that Berta cannot stand to be around Glenna. And Glenna loves to be around Berta. I recommend this book to any teenager who likes funny but yet traumatizing stories.
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on February 19, 2003
Heroine:  plain/average
Berta Berdette has never been able to get over her resentment of her beautiful younger sister with the "charmed" life and handsome husband. All-or-nothing negative Berta is so angry that she wasn't born beautiful too, that she refuses to even try to be "just pretty", shunning lovely hairstyles and clothing and dressing in the primmest, plainest manner possible.
But God shows Berta that her attempts to spite the people around her hurt no one more than herself, and ultimately helps her to open her heart to love: His, hers, and that of a good man.

What worked for me:
The story starts early in Berta's life, and the deft description of a young child adjusting to a new baby was excellent and right on target.
I always enjoy stories which invoke warm memories of some of my favorite childhood reads like the "Little House" and "Anne of Green Gables" series.
Size-wise there are no descriptions given to Berta or her sister. We only know that one is "plain" and the other is "lovely".
What didn't work for me:
     I understand what the moral of the story is, but it seems like this book just hammered it home a few times too many. Berta's bitterness and self-pity became harder and harder to take as the years rolled by.
Fans of Western Historical Christian novels should enjoy this one.
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on October 21, 2006
"The Bluebird and The Sparrow" is a book I chose because I had nothing to read at the time, and Janette Oke is my "go-to" under such circumstances. The character of Berta was extremely annoying, and she had no growth to her until the last five pages of the book, making it very abrupt and leaving the reader wanting. I found it highly unrealistic for a person to hold such a long grudge against her younger sister, and highly unlikely that no one saw the reason as to why she was the way she was. I think this is one of the poorer made characters of Oke's. Still, it kept me reading, so I "sorta" recommend.
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