BirdThis is a deeply profound and moving novel about a family broken by the death of a son, Bird who died on the day his sister, Jewel is born. The story is told through the voice of Jewel and you feel her pain of growing up in a small world where she feels she does not exist and has not enjoyed the fun and laughter a normal twelve year old would experience. She believes she is a disappointment to them and cannot fill the void that Bird has left and her parents are unable or too scared to love her. Her family believes they are cursed by bad luck (duppies) and try to keep away the spirits with herbs and food. It is against this backdrop that Jewel one summer meets a boy called John and we followed their relationship as it develops and they help each other come to terms with their lives as teenagers and with family changes.
The characters are well developed and as a reader you do build up a warmth and longing of hope for Jewel as the story moves along at an easy and relaxed pace with lovely prose and you would not guess that this is Crystal first novel.
This is a rewarding and insightful and thought provoking book ideal for adults and readers of 11+ alike.

Sheila O’Reilly