Book Review: The Nature of Small Birds

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner is a beautiful story of a family, told in This Is Us style (jumping between three different years), with a little bit of history thrown in, and I read it all in one day. It left me wanting more of these characters!

From the back of the book:

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.

I loved how the author used the perspective of three different characters, instead of just one, because we all view situations and relationships differently. We can all see something happen and have different thoughts and observations. Her use of this gave the story such depth and uniqueness.

I related to this story and to these characters in so many ways – I can’t list them all because I don’t want to give spoilers, but the biggest one is that my dad is adopted and I helped him search for his birth family. I grew up watching him struggle with feeling different, wondering why he was given up for adoption, wanting to meet someone he looked like.

I also loved how relatable this was to just about anyone – we all have unique family situations and go through many of the same things these characters did.

The style of this book reminded me of the show This is Us with how it jumped between three different years and that element added layers to the story that couldn’t have been accomplished had it been told all in one year.

This book was excellent – I highly recommend it!

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