Bird is the debut novel from Crystal Chan, who will be a featured reader at this year’s Mixed Remixed Festival. So, I was excited to get my hands on this book. To the writer’s credit, I read Bird in one day; something I haven’t done with another book in a long time. The narrator, Jewel, is an engaging and passionate young girl trying to carve a path for herself in the aftermath of her older brother’s death. Born the same day he dies, Jewel’s whole existence is in his shadow.
When her life is brightened by a new friend with the same name as her brother, Jewel must balance her own happiness with the superstitions of her family. Chan presents an interesting mix of culture, especially as the story takes place in Iowa. Jewel’s mix is Jamaican/White/Mexican, and the writer uses both Jamaican and Mexican superstitions as influences on the family’s actions. This allows the story to unfold in a surprising way and highlights Jewel’s growth throughout the story.
I wonder if people are afraid of us, of the circumstances of my birth, of Bird’s death, of how we’re mixing cultures and stories and magic that shouldn’t be mixed (20)
Find Bird on Amazon and Crystal Chan on her website.