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Michelle Jennifer has commented on (1) product.

Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin
Silhouette of a Sparrow

Michelle Jennifer, December 9, 2013

Molly Beth Griffin has crafted a charming story of adolescent life in early twentieth century Midwestern America. Silhouette of a Sparrow is a sweet--not saccharine--novel with well-developed characters, believable obstacles, and engaging natural detail. I was surprised to learn Griffin is not a birder, because the lens of her story is ambitious and her avian descriptions are unaffected.

Silhouette is set in a real town with an historical composite of geography and background events. Valuable discussions of race, class, gender, sexual preference, speciesism, and ecology are woven smoothly through the book and well-served by an historically accurate context. Garnet is a delightful subject--smart, passionate, self-aware--whose struggle for independence in a world of stifling social protocol reminded me of Jane Eyre.

Griffin is concerned with environmental conservation versus thoughtless human destruction. In Silhouette she also explores conserving identity versus thoughtless self-abnegation. I particularly enjoyed her interpretation of creatures' silhouettes as boundaries between self and not-self, which is where Garnet's story lies (reminiscent of Annie Dillard's boundaries of skin in American Childhood). Garnet must learn she cannot be both obedient and happy--a valuable lesson or reminder for readers of all ages.
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