October 29, 2014

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest is a middle-grade fiction story about "Chirp" and her family in 1970s Cape Cod.  Chirp is so nicknamed because she loves birds and often goes bird-watching with her "binocs" and knows all about red-throated loons and other birds.  Chirp has an older sister, Rachel, her dad, the psychotherapist, and her mom, once a beautiful dancer, now regaled to multiple sclerosis, and subsequently depression.

I identified both with Chirp and her mother.  I don't have MS but I understand a bit what it is like to have your body betray you.  I felt for Chirp's mom.

I love that Ehrlich named the book Nest.  There are various references to different kinds and ways of nesting - the nest of Chirp's home and family being disrupted, the nests she makes herself to comfort herself, etc.

I think this is a tough subject matter but it still helps older children/young adults understand how they relate to not only the world but also their place within their family. When these dynamics shift, how do we know what our place is?

Nest, if you ask me, borders on YA in terms of subject and plot, but the way it is written is definitely for a middle grade audience. I appreciated the layers to the story.  I think Ehrlich has written a book that will southg out for years and years to come.

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