“And, whether I’m always aware of it or not, it’s the nature of God to see every dip and dive and lift, to glory at the triumphs and grieve when they fall. It’s time I loosen my grip.”
The Nature of Small Birds is one of the most wonderful books I have read recently. It deals with adoption, growing up and family relationships, all done in an interesting timeline. There are three lines: 1975, 1988 and 2013. It tends to be three different people as well. The mum, Lisa, is usually the one talking about 1975. It shows the troubled times around Vietnam and the adoption of their daughter Minh. The dad, Bruce is the one speaking about 2013, and his relationship with his parents and siblings, one of whom dies in Vietnam. Their daughter Sonny talks about 1988 and about growing up, graduating High School, getting ready to leave for college. It all circles around Minh or Mindy, the daughter Lisa and Bruce adopted. Minh is one of the children from the Babylift from Vietnam. Although the years hop around, I actually enjoyed it; it was done in such a smooth way that it made the story even more interesting. The story is done well, and the pieces fit together neatly.
Susie Finkbeiner, the author, has done a beautiful job with this heartbreaking as well as happy story. She has brought out the tragedy of the Babylift but also the blessings that came from it. She has shown in such a sensitive way how people’s hearts were involved and their lives touched by Vietnam and all it entailed. I don’t know very much about the Vietnam War, but in The Nature of Small Birds, Susie has shown different angles of this complex time, making me want to read more about it.
Then there is the adoption matter itself. As an adoptive mum of four, this appealed to me straight away when I heard about this book. And Susie handled it so well; it was such a blessing. There is the question of who to call mum, of disappointment from people who meet their birth family, of bitterness, of belonging. For Minh, there is the added burden of not looking like others, something that is a serious issue for foreign adoptees. Susie dealt with it through the different characters. My favourite is probably the grandfather, Ivan, who is fun and kind and balances so many people’s needs.
I would love to read a sequel to this story, as I have so many questions! I felt like I knew the family and it’s strange to have them disappear on me like that… I love how Bruce looks at the little birds and draws so many wise lessons from them. It makes me look at birds in a different light. I’m so grateful for this beautiful book, for pointing things out, for teaching me in such a gentle way and for showing God’s care and goodness even in hard times. To know that His Hand is still holding us, supporting us and caring for us.
I was given a review copy by Love Books Tours but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review.