AUTHOR: Susie Finkbeiner
From the back cover:
In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adoptive family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival into their lives.
Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he'll lose the daughter he's poured his heart into. Mindy's mother undergoes the emotional roller coaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy's sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family--but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.
The Nature of Small Birds was not what I’d expected after looking at the cover and reading the back copy, but it surprised me. The cover seemed bland and unremarkable; I chose to read the story anyway, and I’m glad I did. The family’s struggles and bonds of love inserted them deeply into my heart.
Until I started writing this review, I didn’t notice that – as far as I can tell – the family’s last name is not mentioned. Or did I miss it? Because each point of view is written in first person, the lack is not missed. It is a unique method of story-telling, with three points of view and three time periods, The jumps back and forth in time didn’t always flow well, but they did add depth to the characters. And this story is all about character: personalities and how they clash and mesh, family ties even when difficult, and the overriding faith that allows loved ones to fly, to leave the nest.
When I was in high school, one of my friends had been airlifted from Korea after that war and adopted, much like the Vietnam Babylift, so Mindy’s yearning for answers resonated with my memories.
I was given a copy of The Nature of Small Birds by Graf Martin Communications Inc. and Baker Publishing; it earns four stars. Recommended.