Silouette of a Sparrow

Annotated Book Review: Silhouette of a Sparrow

Growing up in Minnesota in the 1920’s Garnet Richardson watches birds outside her window, admiring their freedom and the simplicity of their beauty. Deep down she knows she cannot have the freedom she craves as her mother has her whole life planned out. Once she finishes high school she will marry, then look after her house. Now Garnet will have to decide if she will fallow her heart and passion or the expectations set by her family and the surrounding society.

Garnet is a sixteen year old girl who enjoys cutting out silhouettes of birds, a hobby that is proper enough for her mother but still leaves room for Garnets love for ornithology. In the summer of 1926 Garnet is sent to live with distant relatives in the country side of Excelsior, Minnesota over the summer while her mother tries to bring her father back from the war he returned from so long ago. In Excelsior an amusement park, a dance hall, and a new job in a hat shop awaits her. While working in the shop Garnet meets the beautiful Isabella and becomes enthralled with the girl. Isabella was unlike anything she had ever seen before, beautiful, sweet, and daring. The two girl’s relationship blossoms throughout the novel, but Garnet knows once the summer is over she will be expected to marry. As you read about Garnets struggle of love and the expectations set by everyone around her the theme of following your heart is present.

Molly Beth Griffin has a way of writing that feels as if you are reading someone’s daydream. With Griffins lyrical writing you are moved by her beautiful descriptions and thoughtful phrases. The characters are all different and overcoming a personal struggle. The narrator Garnet is educated, graceful, and polite, but she is not superior to any one else which is more realistic for the time period. Griffin also paints a beautiful picture of the setting and time period and the slow and gentle relationship between the two girls. The fact that the girls relationship was not the main focus was impressive to me because in most book relationships get in the way of the plot. In this book it enriches the plot and theme.

Although this book was beautifully written aside from Garnet and Isabella the characters were not fully developed, we were told some back stories, but only received a glimpse of their personalities. Also you have to be patient with the plot because in the beginning it borderlines boring due to the slow start. Like any good book Silhouette of a Sparrow could have used more pages. I definitely wanted to know what happened after the summer ended.

Silhouette of a Sparrow really is an amazing book. Memories of you're first love hang over your head as you read about Garnet and Isabella's story, you can feel Garnets defiance when she reaches for what she wants, and you are often moved by the subtly of Griffins amazing writing. I recomend this book to everyone.