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The Lovebird Hardcover – June 18, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“You’re a girl as long as you allow life to happen to you,” a wise woman tells Margie Fitzgerald, the sensitive, lovelorn heroine of Brown’s debut novel. An impressionable college student when the story begins, Margie falls hard for her handsome, damaged Latin professor, Simon, a single father and dedicated animal rights activist. Simon brings Margie into his group H.E.A.R.T. (Humans Encouraging Animal Rights Today), and it isn’t long before Margie is joining protests and liberating animals from pet stores. When Simon abruptly ends their relationship, he leaves the group in her hands, and Margie goes to such extremes she’s arrested by the FBI. After another member puts up bail for her, the group convinces Margie to flee to an Indian reservation in Montana, where she is taken in by a Crow family: Jim, a single father; his mother, Evelyn; and his preteen daughter, Cora. 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. --Kristine Huntley

Review

 
"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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385536755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385536752
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Margie Fitzgerald is a waif-like young woman attending college in the San Diego area. She falls for Simon, her Latin professor, and they quickly become lovers. Simon is head of an organization called H.E.A.R.T. (Humans Enforcing Animal Rights Today). The organization takes on causes and activities that impact the rights of animals, especially those in captivity. An example is freeing all the birds in a pet store or organizing rallies to combat the cruelty that goes into raising meat for human consumption. Margie is quickly swayed into Simon's way of thinking and becomes a member of H.E.A.R.T.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dave Astle VINE VOICE on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first started the Lovebird, I will admit that I was bored. I read about 30 pages and then put it away for a while. In the beginning, the book seemed to be about another student/professor affair but this book was about much more than that.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Neal Reynolds VINE VOICE on July 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Natalie Brown brings us a nice and pleasant first effort. This is a coming of age story with a likeable teen heroine who loves animals, maybe a bit too much since this love gets her connected with H.E.A.R.T., a maverick animal rights group, a connection that eventually makes her a fugitive from the law.

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.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Just My Op VINE VOICE on July 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book should have been right up my alley, as someone whose love for animals morphed into animal welfare and then into animal rights. Unfortunately, the book just didn't work for me.

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.
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