Title: The Map of True Places
Author: Kelly Simmons
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Paperback: 288 pages
Every family has its secrets. But when you are suddenly the matriarch, tending the dark fires of memory, and your own mind is fading, who do you dare to share them with? Your diary, or your eight-year-old granddaughter?
Interweaving diaries penned forty years apart, Kelly Simmons’s captivating second novel, The Bird House, blends the fierce voice of Ann Biddle, a woman struggling to bond with her only grandchild, Ellie, while railing against the ravages of early dementia, with her point-of-view as a young wife and mother. We witness the secrets of Ann’s family and her grand-daughter and daughter-in-law’s through every lens — from the clarity of the rearview mirror to the haze of Alzheimer’s. And we see her grappling through the ‘60’s with sleep deprivation, breast cancer, her own mother’s death, a passionate affair, and a tragedy that leaves her stunned until, four decades later, her whip-smart granddaughter unwittingly sheds a burst of light on the family’s shadowy history.
A subtly tense, darkly psychological tug of war between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, present and past, The Bird House is a moving treatise on family, love, and memories—both lost and found. And proves a worthy successor to her book club favorite debut, Standing Still.
The Bird House by Kelly Simmons, is the story of an elderly woman, Ann Biddle, who tells of her life and the hardships she had to endure throughout her 70 years. Simmons, literally gives readers a first-hand experience through the eyes of Ann as Ann currently comes to grips with the onset of dementia and the challenges and strain it can have on families. In a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, loneliness and infidelity, Simmons captures the emotions Ann experiences as she helps her granddaughter, Ellie, with a school project about her family history; a project that brings Ann and Ellie to explore Ann’s past through items and memorabilia stored away in Ann’s attic. Teetering on the edge of losing her new found closeness to her granddaughter as Ann rediscovers her past traumas as she helps Ellie, Simmons takes readers through the challenges of keeping past troubles from destroying what is good in present life. I would not hesitate to recommend The Bird House to any reader and especially to book discussion groups.
Kelly Simmons is a former journalist and advertising creative director specializing in marketing to women. She lives with her family outside Philadelphia.
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I received a complimentary copy of The Bird House by Kelly Simmons from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.