Monday, January 10, 2022

Review - Little Birds

Little Birds

by Hannah Lee Kidder
Date: 2018
Publisher: Hannah Lee Kidder
Reading level: A
Book type: short stories
Pages: 48
Format: e-book
Source: library

“Little Birds” is a collection of glimpses into some of the darkest corners of our lives–the lies we tell ourselves, the ways we hurt others, the painful truths we pretend to face. Each story is a raw, unflinchingly human experience.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I read Kidder's Starlight last year, and enjoyed it more than I enjoy most short-story collections. Little Birds went on sale, so I snapped up a copy.

Here are my thoughts on the individual stories:

"Dear Emma"

Well, that's a dark way to start off a collection. Interesting flash fiction, though.

"What Remains"

Another depressing sort of story, this time about a woman who likes to bury dead things in her yard. There's a reason, of course.

"By the Window"

Two sentences. They say a lot.

"Qui Vive"

Eh... okay. Ew. Whatever.

"He Wrote Me a Song"

Unnecessarily sad. Sometimes I'm not sure whether people write these sorts of stories just for shock value, or what.

"An Envelope"

That was anticlimactic. And now I don't like the main character.

"Crop Stet"

This "story" is one awkwardly worded sentence. I have no idea what the title means.


This feels both too long and incomplete. We get the overall idea of what's going on pretty early, but then nothing ever really comes of it; the basic premise is just reinforced.


Deep. Short. What more is there to say? (This review is four words longer than the story.)

"Wolverine Frogs"

Dark and disturbing. Well written, though.

"Little Birds"

I don't know if this is from the point of view of a stalker or an ex (who's just acting like a stalker). But it makes me wonder all sorts of things that I'm not sure if I'm supposed to wonder about. Am I overthinking it? I never know with literary fiction.


Another boring snippet. To be honest, I don't think I'd call some of these "stories"; they don't have a beginning, middle, and end. Many of them have a theme of leaving... and this is no exception.

"Cane Sprouts"

By far the longest story in the book, "Cane Sprouts" is a snapshot of a family living on the edge of the bayou. The grandfather is sick, and two grandchildren have come back to visit. They go fishing. That's about it. I was a bit distracted in this one with some of the grammar slip-ups and continuity problems (at one point, it's implied that the narrator somehow peels an orange with one hand; either that, or she's got three hands).

Little Birds is an okay collection, but I can really see the growth between what's included here and what's included in Starlight. Some of these stories are super short, and while there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, it kind of makes for an imbalanced collection when the final story takes up a full 40% of the book. I'm really not a fan of adult contemporary/literary fiction; it's not escapist enough for me. So, overall, I enjoyed Starlight, with its fantasy and horror vibes, far more.

That said, I would still recommend Little Birds to the right audience. If you like adult contemporary short fiction with heavy themes, try Little Birds. If you prefer fantasy and/or horror short fiction with heavy themes, you might enjoy Starlight more.

Overall: 2.77  out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment