First book review of this year, Yay!
That is not to say this is the first book I have read this year. I enjoyed a few books before I even opened this one. Those were ones I have already read many times and found delight in them. A perfect start to my reading journey this year.
A Sparrow Alone is a tale that is perhaps not for everyone. Indeed, A Sparrow Alone is a book that should come with trigger warnings for the reader. Set in the late nineteenth century, this is the story of Hannah. The life of a girl in those times, the trials and tribulations she faces everyday, the coming of age tale of Hannah. There are times after finishing A Sparrow Alone I am left wondering if the whole thing could have been different. I will get to that thought later on in this post.
If one were to ask if I enjoyed A Sparrow Alone, I would not have a succint answer. It would be very roundabout, as this sentence. The plot, and the premise were very promising. However the tale in itself was a bit of a let down. It was perhaps because I have read a few other similar books with the same theme. What A Sparrow Alone lacks for is, in one word, depth. A depth of character, a depth of emotion, a depth of feeling.
Every character – Hannah, Zuma, Dr Hughes, Stratton… each of them come across as a shaded silhouette. They could have been made into a technicolour version with their scars prominently displayed and their vile thoughts mirrored in their eyes. But what the reader gets is a version of these characters hiding under the hood of nondescript text. It is this that I think would have elevated A Sparrow Alone to a whole new level. One of those rarified novels which haunt the reader after finishing it. The writing of the tale leaves the reader wanting. One could not bring oneself to empathise with any character in A Sparrow Alone.
There is sexual abuse in A Sparrow Alone and reader discretion is adviced. I do wish that publishers would include a jarringly noticable icon on book covers so that readers can be aware of this and not be blindsided as in most cases.
When one considers the book on the whole, I would have to give three stars to A Sparrow Alone.