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The Lovebird Hardcover – June 18, 2013
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"The Lovebird proves to be more than the story of an ill-fated romance between a timid co-ed with a Strawberry Shortcake suitcase and a predatory teacher. The affair between the diffident Margie Fitzgerald and her Latin professor fades out . . . [and] with the help of one of her animal activist friends, she flees to a Crow reservation in Montana. Specifically, she’s deposited, like one of the stray bunnies she likes to save, at the home of a wise and elderly Crow woman and her family . . . . Brown’s skill pulls us into Granma’s warm, nurturing orbit in spite of ourselves. One reason we love her is the goodness she’s passed on to her son Jim.... Skating so close to cliché and stereotype, then subverting them a little; making you feel for and believe in her characters and care about what happens to them—these are signs of real talent. Natalie Brown is a real talent." –Bookpage
“In vibrant, colorful language that leaps off the page, Brown paints her winsome heroine’s coming-of-age with compassion and affection in this lush, compelling tale.” –Booklist
“The Lovebird is a compassionate and inviting novel about loneliness and heartbreak, finding a place to belong, and what we will do to protect the things we love. Brown evokes great emotion with her small and perfect details. The image of the lovebird—confused and lost—touched me to the core, and stayed with me long after I shut the book.” —Jennifer Close, bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses
"Natalie Brown has written a sly and quietly funny novel of a young woman’s coming of age. Her unusual heroine, Margie Fitzgerald, is a passionate innocent, a dreamer blessed with loopy confidence, charming directness, and a very American logic all her own." —Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter
“The Lovebird asks us what it means to love, to belong, to believe. It's a book about new vision, second chances, and one young woman's desire to find her place among her human--and animal--kin.” —Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men
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Top Customer Reviews
Most all the members of H.E.A.R.T. have animal names. There is Orca, Bumble, Bear, Ptarmigan, and Raven. Only Simon and Margie keep their given names. There comes a point when Simon decides he no longer wants to be with Margie and, at the same time, passes the leadership of the organization on to her. Margie is heartbroken about the break-up and, as with most things that cause her stress or arouse her, her left ovary 'flames'. Simon believes that leading H.E.A.R.T. will give Margie a purpose and minimize the pain of their break-up.
As leader of the organization, Margie decides to undertake an activity that comes to the attention of the FBI. There is an undercover agent in their group who videotapes Margie's incendiary speech and puts her under arrest. Bumble posts bail and suggests that Margie get out of town and hide out rather than show up for her sentencing. He is part Crow Indian and has a relative on a reservation in Montana. He takes Margie there and she is taken in by Bumble's family.
Margie stays with Granma, Cora, and Jim for a lengthy time and learns about the native ways of living, especially from Granma.Read more ›
Margie is a young college student in San Diego, who, it seems, has led a very lonely existence. After losing her mother during her own birth and having an alcoholic father, she arrives in San Diego as alone as ever and is taken in by her Latin professor, Simon. He sees her loneliness and her fragility and gives her a home, a purpose, and himself. The purpose he gives her is as an animal rights activist and when Margie loses Simon, she takes the activism a bit too far.
Some of the other reviews mention that they liked the first half of the book the most but I found the opposite to be true. In the second half of the book, Margie goes to Montana to escape the FBI. She is taken to the Crow reservation where she lives with an old woman, her son Jim, and Jim's daughter Cora. It is on the reservation that Margie learns who she is and finds what she's been looking for.
The first half of the story was quite good and involves us with not only the heroine, but also with the men in her young life. However, we then get into the second half which, although with new likeable characters bogs down. The final chapters are anti-climactic. I was hoping for much more conflict in them than there was.
The chapters each have an animal name and the animal is mentioned but not necessarily featured in that chapter. The mention is sometimes stretched a bit, the worst stretching being in the chapter labelled "Hippo".
This is worth your while if you're an animal lover. Don't expect a lot, but it is quietly entertaining. And it does hold the promise of more from Natalie.
On the good side, although it mentioned some of the horrible things that are routinely done to animals, it didn't go into gory detail, something that most people who care about animals beyond their pets already know about. I certainly do, and didn't want more.
A couple of the first characters introduced were a man who was suspected of letting a parakeet die due to neglect, and an animal rights activist. I liked the parakeet killer and didn't like the activist, who had some pretty slimy personal ethics. This doesn't bode well.
The protagonist, a college student, came across as silly and contrived. She had a left ovary that twinged in emotional situations, and I heard more about her ovary than I ever wanted to know. Along with that, there was too much symbolic imagery - hyacinths, red roses, buffaloes, ladybugs. It all came across as feeling just too gimmicky. The story was too predictable.
I enjoyed some of the parts about the Crow Nation, but it also felt overly romanticized to me. And while there was some romance throughout the book, it devolved into a clichéd romance that I just didn't care for.
Other people have loved this book, so apparently my opinion on this one is in the minority. If it sounds like something you would like, go for it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This tale started off slowly...very slowly; in fact I was a bit sorry I purchased the book after the first 100 pages or so and contemplated giving up on it, something I seldom do... Read morePublished 11 months ago by William D. Brisbane
This was a wonderful read. Ms. Brown's characters come alive as you read the story of a young woman coming into her own. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Lynn
This is such an interesting novel- imperfect, but with elements that entertain and hook the reader. Most of us could relate to a naive young lady whose love of animals and lack of... Read morePublished 22 months ago by N. Ferguson R.
Love birds, ideally, are found in pairs. One love bird is a sad sight - sitting, lonely, on its perch - always looking for its other half. Read morePublished 23 months ago by E.M. Jalph
"The Lovebird" by Natalie Brown was slow reading from the start of the story until around half way through. Then the writing and the story pick up to a faster pace. Read morePublished on November 18, 2013 by Wilhelmina Zeitgeist
A great debut novel. Sure, it has some problems. It doesn't take off until you are about 40 pages in, but it really improves then. I liked the main character, Margie. Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by LAURI CRUMLEY COATES
Natalie is a new author, has a great grasp of the characters and a good storyline. You can't go wrong to read it and support a new author!Published on November 10, 2013 by Bonnie Murphy
I don't usually take the time to post reviews but this gorgeous book made quite an impression. For one thing, the prose is so beautiful, at times breathtakingly so, that I... Read morePublished on November 6, 2013 by A.
The Lovebird is the story of a young college student who transitions from an impressionable girl into a full-fledged adult. Read morePublished on October 27, 2013 by atavism