A book described as a novel “unconventional magical-realism-for-young-adult” (Myhre 132) is not a work I would typically think I could really get into. Most of the books I read are non-fiction and I tend to be picky with the fictional books I take time out to read. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself lost in J.A. Myhre’s A Bird, A Girl, and a Rescue. Myhre puts forth a captivating story-line within an African cultural setting containing biblical imagery and themes.
The captivating story-line features 11-year old Kiisa as its main character. Having been sent to a boarding school by her family, her father tells her she has been made “for such a time as this”. As the narrative moves along, one can see Kiisa’s role is being in the right place at the right time (Myhre 94). Although she quickly becomes an opponent to one of the older girls, Masasi, when she sees Masisi captured by African rebels, Kiisa goes on the search to find her and rescue her. She is accompanied with Nijili, a talking wagtail her father had given her. They meet other animals along the way. To resist being a spoiler, it should suffice to say Kiisa accomplishes her mission.
A Bird, A Girl, and a Rescue highlights an African cultural setting. While the story is fictional, the events speak to “the real-life suffering of the families of the students of Kichwamba Technical College, where in 1998 real rebels locked young people in their dorms and set them on fire, killing 80 and abducting 100” (Myhre 131). A number of cultural terms are used throughout the novel which is why a glossary is found on pages 128-130. Tied in with cultural nuances is biblical imagery, most notably the reference “people of the wounded heel” (Myhre 39).
As much as can be said about the content of the novel, the cause is even greater: “Half of the author proceeds from this book will go directly into a fund that enables orphans to receive an excellent education” (Myhre 132). In sum, A Bird, A Girl, and A Rescue is a book for young people full of biblical imagery that is culturally-informing.
I received this book for free from New Growth Press via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.