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Review: The Bird Room, Chris Killen

Since he is such a socially awkward person, Will is astonished when Alice spontaneously makes her interest in him clear.  She’s Will’s first girlfriend, as well as beautiful and smart.  He can’t stop obsessing over her and worrying what’s going to go wrong.  As always happens in such situations, his obsession begins to drive Alice away, and it’s only then that Will’s passion displays its most damaging consequences.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book and I was surprised, in a pleasant way, by what I found.  This book reads partly like an example of how not to conduct a relationship.  The situations are occasionally as sad as they are hilarious, but it’s impossible not to laugh.  The author has taken obsessive love to an extreme which is difficult to believe in, but which provides uneasy entertainment nonetheless.  We know there is something sad and wrong with these people, but at the same time they are mocking themselves.

The book alternates narration, using first person only when Will has the viewpoint perspective and third person for the other character.  This gives the reader an insight into his uncomfortable and obsessive mind, since otherwise we’d have no reason as to why he behaves the way he does, but at the same time contrasts his inner thoughts with his outer appearance and behavior.

The Bird Room doesn’t flinch in describing any aspect of these relationships.  A lot of the novel is obsessed with sex, as young people in new relationships generally are.  One of the characters is an actress using her body to get by and to erase her previous school persona, so there really is a fair amount of graphic content.  The book feels edgy, using the characters’ sexuality to portray the other happenings in their lives.  Helen, always lacking confidence, feels beautiful when a man wants her enough to sleep with her.  Will needs Viagra to encourage him along when his obsession with Alice takes control of his life.

A darkly comic tale about the extremes of obsession, The Bird Room manages to finish with hope and provides some very provoking thoughts to consider.  This little book is worth a read for those who enjoy character studies.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the publisher for review.

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