Reading New Zealand: Billy Bird by Emma Neale
A little while ago I mentioned my Read Around The World challenge. Although I am yet to pick up an epic world map pin board and cute pins, I am well under way with the journey! First of all, I ended up starting off close to home — in fact at home. New Zealand authors are so amazing. I don't know if we say it enough if I'm honest. My sister and I went to the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards this year, and it was so incredible to see all the nominated authors up on stage reading excerpts of their novels. I already had two at home, but I was inspired to go and request a few more from the library because they were so cool!
Billy Bird by Emma Neale was one of the books I managed to get my hands on (after a pretty lengthy wait) from the library. I inhaled it within a week (and that's pretty good going considering the main time I get to read is on the train home from work).
As always, I won't use this space to ruin the book for you. But I will tell you that each of the characters in the book are incredibly strong, and Neale has managed to communicate the characters and their stories in such a way that you really do feel like you're walking down the street with them, or you're hiding under the bed with them, or doing whatever they're doing with them. It's amazing. The language is so fun and quirky, and Kiwi! So many Kiwi-isms.
While I say that the language is fun and quirky, the novel tackles some pretty heavy themes. Grief, post traumatic stress, child psychology, plus plenty more — there's so much that should take you into quite a sad mood, and you do get there, but you're constantly reminded of happiness and joy throughout. It's quite the emotional roller coaster and you learn so much along the way.
If you're keen to have a read of Billy Bird, and I strongly recommend that you do, grab a copy via Book Depository at the link below (I get a lil bit of cash from the sale too). I'll be marking New Zealand off the map when I finally get that map — maybe I should go by cities for New Zealand? What do you think?