A book club featuring books for smart women.
Jailbird by Heather Huffman
The first line of this novel made it a hard one to resist. “Of all the things I dreamed of being when I grew up, a convicted felon certainly wasn’t one of them.” This began a chapter that is scattered with so many bits of foreshadowing, I found that I couldn’t help but pick up each shiny piece with an increasing anticipation for the next.
One of the things I enjoyed most about Heather Huffman’s writing style was that she didn’t explain everything in minute detail. This was a surprise for me. At first I wanted a more thorough description of the storyline, but as I read, I realized that the author was creating a visual picture of her tale for me in a way I never expected. I was shown the events that made up Neena’s life. I understood how her past affected her, and there was no doubt just how much trepidation she felt about her future. What I found so interesting was what wasn’t written into the story—those intimate details Neena didn’t express about the things that had happened to her— spoke just as loudly as the words that were spelled out on the page. The more I read, the more I felt like the style in which the story was being told was much like Neena herself; open but guarded, emotional but hesitant.
Jailbird is at times light-hearted and sweet, but it’s dark and sad as well. While Neena’s story is a difficult one, it is impossible not to become attached to this brave and resourceful heroine. Huffman has created very genuine characters in this novel. She reminds readers with this story that bad things sometimes happen to good people, but that we all have the ability and the strength to rise above them, and that we can live the kinds of lives we all want most.
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