Book Review, Contemporary

Book Review – The Nature of Small Birds

The Nature of Small Birds

by Susie Finkbeiner

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

My Thoughts

Any reader of this novel will find themselves ending the book with the feeling of having made new friends…
I was privileged to read an arc kindle version of this book.
My biggest complaint…I was completely unaware I was getting close to the end of the book until I reached the last page.
Say what??! I need more! 🙂

Before I get started though, I would like to comment about the cover. Sometimes the cover and/or the title is what really puts a book on my MUST READ list. Well, not so for this book. I’m not necessarily a bird lover, so seeing the cover just wouldn’t have really drawn me to it.

No, what really captivated me and made me know it was, in fact, a MUST READ is seeing Susie Finkbeiner’s name on the cover. I’ve read two others of her novels, All Manner of Things, and Stories That Bind Us, and both of those are also really worth your while, and stories that I really, really loved. Susie’s storytelling voice is one that absolutely hits home with me, bringing stories to life in ways that plant them firmly in my brain, in my heart, where they’ll stay and linger for a very long time.

This is the story of Mindy and her family. Susie Finkbeiner has brought to life in an amazing way the story of the Babylift episode…which I had never even heard of before reading about this book.
Mindy was adopted from Vietnam as a young girl, and has never really felt like she belonged.
This book goes between three time periods, and I’d like to mention just a bit about each of these.

1975 – this is told mostly from Linda (the Mom’s) perspective. I love it when Ms. Finkbeiner tells about the 70s. She does an exceptional job at bringing those tumultuous years to life. The backdrop of the Vietnam war, the many difficulties because of this. Linda is a young married woman, she has one daughter, Sonny, and longs for more children. This is the year of Minh’s (also known as Mindy) adoption.

Then there’s 1988, and this is told mostly from Sonny’s (the oldest sister) viewpoint. Looking through the lenses of a teen in the 80s, a young girl ready to head off for college. This is Mindy during her teen years.

Finally, there is 2013, which is narrated mostly through Bruce’s (the Dad’s) viewpoint. In addition to seeing things through a male perspective, it also gives the ability to see things with hindsight, and give more clarity as to the whys and wherefores of some things that happened earlier. This is the time period when Mindy as an adult, and she decides to look for her birth family.
The characters are what really makes this book outstanding. As the reader, we are treated to various viewpoints, and get to peek into the minds of each one of Mindy’s family members.
Dealing with adoption issues, family, belonging, and some racial discrimination, this book truly is one that will tug on your heart-strings and linger in your mind for quite awhile.

The paperback copy of this book is scheduled to release in July, be sure and preorder a copy (or request it from your local library) because this is one of those books you will NOT want to miss!!


Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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