Guest Post: A Review of “The Someday Birds” by poet and writer Glenna Cook

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I would like to see Sally Pla’s new, and first young adult novel, The Someday Birds, become required reading for all middle school students. Told through the words of a bright and loveable twelve-year-old boy, Charlie, who has Asperger’s syndrome, it is a touching account of his struggles to cope with an already challenging world, under new and even more challenging circumstances.

Against his will, Charlie finds himself on a coast-to-coast road trip with his ten-year-old twin brothers, his sixteen-year-old sister, and a quirky young woman named Ludmilla, who seemed to have come mysteriously out of nowhere, to become their default caretaker. They are going to see his father, who is being treated in a Virginia hospital for severe brain trauma. He had been in an IED blast in Afghanistan, where he had gone to report on the war. To make the trip endurable, Charlie, who has OCD, fixates on a goal to see every bird on the “someday birds” list that he and his father had made, before his father left for Afghanistan.

The book is an insightful look at how hard it is for a young person with Asperger’s syndrome to have his needs met and understood, and how hard it is for the people around him to understand and meet his needs. It is a hopeful book, as we see Charlie learn, little-by-little, to cope with difficulties, that to most people, would not be difficult, at all. It’s an amusing book, as we see how the world from Charlie’s point-of-view, often makes more sense than the way “normal” people experience it.

Although the book was written for the young adult reader, this eighty-year-old great-grandmother found it captivating and delightful. Its plot held my interest until the very last word. It’s language is understandable for the age for which it was written, but informative and thoughtful enough to hold the attention of the most discriminating reader. I intend to buy this book as a Christmas present for all my grandchildren.

Glenna Cook,
Poet and writer
Washington

5 comments to Guest Post: A Review of “The Someday Birds” by poet and writer Glenna Cook

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