Book Review: Birdy Flynn by Helen Donohoe


Title: Birdy Flynn

Author: Helen Donohoe

Rating: 2/5 stars

Release date: May 9th 2017

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Goodreads Synopsis:

It is the summer and a group of children are playing down by a stream when they do a terrible thing. Something that Birdy tries unsuccessfully to avert. While the other children in the gang find it easy to forget what they have done, Birdy is trapped in the moment and feels bound to do something to make amends. But how does a child face up to responsibility and find the courage to do the right thing?

An uncompromising and uniquely powerful novel about growing up, making friends and being true to yourself.


I was so excited to read my very first book on gender identity – and during the 80s too! The concept holds so much promise, but sadly I was very disappointed with the story and the way it was executed.

Donohoe has a way with words, no doubt. She is able to convey the emotions of the characters and you just can’t help but relate to them, but sometimes her writing can be a bit too pretentious.

Some of the events that happened in the story can be irrelevant to Birdy and the story (or the concept, in general). Her ideas and morals just feels so forced and exaggerated sometimes that none of it make sense. I had to put the book down several times because most of the time I just go ‘what is happening??’ or ‘why is it even happening?’. I ended up just skim reading the second half of the book. There was really no point to it until the last few chapters (which was okay, at least).

There were only faint hints of gender identity themes. Sure it’s character driven and emotional – the character goes through a load of crap for wanting to express herself and the story does explore the stereotypes that happen within the theme, but the story just isn’t something that stick with you. You read it and then you forget about it. If I were to read a book that highlights a certain controversial issue, I want to be left feeling something and probably learning a thing or two from it. But there was nothing I could gather from the book. It leaned mostly to feminism I want to say, but even then it is still a weak representation.

Overall, this book was not my cup of tea. An angsty coming of age story? Sure. But it is nowhere close to being a ‘poignant, ‘moving’ or even an ‘enlightening’ representation of gender identity in the 80s.

Thank you so much Rock The Boat UK for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review! ❤

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