Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Catherine (yes, called Birdy) is the daughter of a knight from medieval England. Not truly rich but certainly not poor, her life is one of chores and responsibilities, the cycles of the seasons and revolves around her family. Knowing that she is destined to marry whatever jerk her father chooses, Birdy’s diary entries are filled with her rage against a world she cannot control. She’s so delightfully sarcastic and as we watch her grow up and find happiness in the little moments that she can, we see Birdy figure out how to make a place for herself.

I read this because I saw the trailer for the new movie and it looks delicious. I recognize that if you are something of a medieval purist, you will have a hard time believing in Birdy and his way of seeing the world. But I am NOT a purist: I can appreciate that Birdy can give us a glimpse of what life was like long ago, I can appreciate his wit and courage, his mistakes and his regrets. I think I would have loved this book when I was a teenager and I am happy that it exists for young people to read.

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