Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasser
Looking for a good Southern Gothic novel that’s perfect for the summer? I just finished a book that might be the perfect addition to your summer reading list: Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasser. Keep reading to find out why.
Gradle Bird by J.C. Nasser
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: 4 stars
Find it here: Gradle Bird
At BEA this year I found myself standing a long line to get the latest John Grisham book signed for a friend. I struck up a conversation with a lovely woman who turned out to be the literary agent for J.C. Sasser and she peaked my interest in the book. A few weeks later, I received a copy of the book along with a nice letter and a packet of seeds from the author. The letter and the seeds intrigued me and I pushed the book up to the top of my TBR. I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed the book.
Gradle Bird is the story of a sassy and completely lovable 16 year-old girl, named Gradle Bird. She lives with her grandfather who is a silent, man of many secrets. Most of these secrets pertain to Gradle Bird’s childhood and family. Gradle Bird longs to understand why her grandfather seems so disconnected and aloof. The two of them have been living in a motel where her grandfather serves as handyman, but when they run into trouble, they flee to a mysterious rundown home. As the book unfolds we learn the connections that exist between this rundown home and Gradle’s grandfather. Along the way we encounter a whole host of characters including a recluse with mental health issues, two young men from troubled backgrounds, and even a ghost.
It’s hard not to draw parallels between Gradle and Scout from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Both are precocious children, sassy, funny, smart, and independent. More importantly, both stand up for what they believe is right. But Gradle Bird’s story is not a tale of racial inequities or injustices. Gradle Bird is a tale of self-discovery, guilt, and redemption. Characters in the book do some pretty cruel things but the real story is how they overcome the consequences of these actions.
I really enjoyed the book. It was a quick read and the main character is quite fabulous. The relationship between Gradle and her grandfather was touching and entirely believable. I was engaged in their stories and really appreciated discovering their history. As I mentioned, there is a supernatural element (e.g., ghost) in the book and normally in this sort of a book, that would have annoyed me. However, in this case, it did not detract from the story and was more about a spiritual connection that any kind of magical haunting. This piece was written in a way to raise doubts about the reality of the ghost. Was it legitimate or a figment of the grandfather’s imagination?
I would recommend this book as a good summer read for those who enjoy Southern Gothic novels and literary fiction. It deals with serious topics but is written in a humorous and engaging way. And on a completely superficial note, the cover and inside artwork is pretty great.
Want to try it for yourself? You can find your copy here: Gradle Bird
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