The Bird House

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • customer reviews
From the critically acclaimed author of Standing Still comes a psychologically charged novel about the power and failure of family.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439160930 | 
  • February 2011
List Price $14.00
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Read an Excerpt

October 22, 2010

Beneath the surface of any problem, if you scrabble a bit, you’ll find a secret.

It may take a while—decades perhaps—not for your excavation, mind you, but for your desire to appear; for that childlike curiosity to float up again. Indeed, you may need an actual child to summon it, as I did.

But this is what drives us—the historians, the trash pickers, the gossips, the shrinks. And yes, the readers of books. We’re all rooting around, teasing out other people’s hidden reasons.

Haven’t we all profited from another’s heartache? Anything... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Bird House includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Kelly Simmons. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

Every family has its secrets. But when you are the last survivor tending to the dark fires of memory, and your own mind is fading, who do you share them with? Your diary or your eight-year-old granddaughter? Or do you simply let them fade away, along with your memory?

The Bird House is a moving story of secrets, lies, and relationships. It is a close look at the hardship and heartbreak that one woman can withstand during a lifetime. As an elderly woman, Ann Biddle is struggling to both remember and come to terms with the life she has led. It is through her young, but wise granddaughter, Ellie, that Ann finds a way to deal with her past and finally reveal the secrets that have come to taint the present.


TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION


1. Ann reveals within the first chapter that her memory is failing. How did this confession affect your reading? Was Ann an unreliable narrator? Explain your answer.

2. Bird houses are a recurring theme throughout the novel—besides the title see more

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