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  • kjoannerixon

The Boy with a Bird in His Chest

Lund's prose is both gorgeous and accessible, and this coming-of-age story will make your heart ache the way the best examples of this genre do. The Boy with a Bird in His Chest is delightfully Pacific Northwestern (although the descriptions of grayness and damp and depression, in a season of grayness and damp and seasonal depression, are a bit of a downer tbh), and youthful and modern. The slow pace, the focus on immediate relationships, the very convincing portrayal of a young kid who doesn't know much about the world or anything, the pain of inherited traumas...It's just really well written.

Lund is a trans woman, and this book feels like a trans book, although by the end of it I'm not sure I can put my finger on why. Owen, the main character, is not trans, although he is queer and does wear his female cousin's clothes a couple of times. The bird in his chest lives with him, converses with him, but isn't him--there are distinctly two personalities there. And yet. It's a really lovely feat that Lund has pulled off here. I'm very impressed by her work and am looking forward to reading more books from her.

Note: Parts of TBWABIHC were hard for me to read because maybe I relate to Owen a little bit too much. The atmosphere of the constant crush of danger and the dullness of depression was very real. And note that the book does include some suicidal ideation.



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