Friday, February 10, 2017

Review: Grief Is The Thing With Feathers

Title Grief Is The Thing With Feathers
By Max Porter
Genre Novella/Essay
Rating ⭐⭐

(I'm going to let Goodreads have this one) In this extraordinary debut - part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter's compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth.

First Sentence
There's a feather on my pillow.

Oi! I'm reading several of these books as part of the Tournament of Books that the Morning News puts on each year. I'm a newbie and know literally nothing more than there's a list of books and it's kinda like March Madness as one by one they get voted off until there's a winner....I think. Something like that any way. My friend Jessica loves to read all the books nominated and follow the fun. This year I decided to join. I'm not attempting all the books but I'm trying several.

This one was almost like a verse novella/poetry. I'm not a big fan of poetry. I hate symbolism. I like when people say what they mean. Straight forward and clear as day....sometimes. I do like the occasional nuanced symbolism but not when it's this confusing.

And this one was so confusing. At the end of it, and it's not long, you get the general picture. There's a father and his two boys dealing with the loss of the mother. While it had some tiny bits of wisdom, I found it mostly confusing gibberish.

I guess I just don't like books that make you feel stupid in a (I'm going to purposely make this illegible and then mock you if you don't understand it) way.

 I didn't find it clever and profound. I'm not going to stand in the crowd watching the Emperor stride naked down the street and exclaim with wonder that his nonexistent  clothes are beautiful so I don't look stupid.

Should you read it
I see no reason why you can't go happily about your life having never read this one.


  1. This review made me laugh. I love how straight forward you are. That last sentence under the "should you read it" is hilarious! I haven't heard of this tournament of books. I'll have to check it out!

    1. Jessica A talks about it a lot at book club. I thought I'd join her this year.

  2. I love your reviews. I love your take on things. I'm sorry you didn't liked it.

  3. Yeah, I'll take clarity over "creativity" any day.

  4. I've never liked these kinds of books; I usually end up not finishing them.

  5. I love those types of reader voted book lists. I just followed the link and many of the books I have on my "out of my comfort zone" list are on there. I've already read Homegoing (which didn't go so well), but I've been wanting to read books like The Vegetarian and The Underground Railroad. I've never hear of the one you are reviewing. I think I'll take your advice and skip it. :)

  6. I'm with you on symbolism, I don't mind a little bit here and there but when the book is filled with it I'm just not in to trying to figure out what is said.

    This tournament sounds fun and I hope you enjoy the other books you pick out!

  7. I like verse novels, but straight up poetry is usually something I prefer to write when I'm feeling angsty. And I pretty much hate symbolism (does the red wagon symbolize Communism? Or is it because most damn wagons are red?). Because I work at the bookstore now, I am probably reading more award winners in the past, but I swear sometimes I just don't get why some books get all the praise.