Reviewed by Carolyn Martinez
Hush, Little Bird
by Nicole Trope
Paperback, ISBN-13: 978-1760113728
In June 2013, Trope was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying that books that changed her included ‘The Women’s Room’ by Marilyn French and ‘The Fat Woman’s Joke’ by Fay Weldon. The former because it was an iconic text of the feminist movement and Trope was “terrified that I was doomed to repeat the women’s mistakes and surrender my sense of self,” and the latter because Weldon taught her “not to spare anyone’s feelings” while writing. She went on to say that she used to treat her characters too carefully.
I can see that this awareness has come into play in Trope’s latest work, Hush, Little Bird.
Hush, Little Bird explores the lives of Felicity and Rose: one an intellectually challenged young woman, and the other a society lady of some fame because of her husband’s celebrity status. Both ladies land in the same jail for physically violent crimes. Trope uses real time and flashbacks to explore how and why these two women’s lives were intricately bound together by the actions of one man who wrongs many.
The theme of surrendering self is just one topic explored through thoughtful dialogue and prose. The characterisation of a sensitive topic demonstrates how it is possible that horrendous things happen, and even people living under the same roof don’t realise what’s going on. We see first-hand why victims sometimes can’t speak out until many years after the event.
By writing in the character’s voices, Trope lets us intricately share the characters’ stories. We feel their pain, we feel their awakening, and we feel their resolution.
Paedophilia is a main theme at the core of the story. It’s a topical social issue that deserves discussion, and Trope has done a very good job of giving voice to voiceless victims. A question explored throughout the book is – why don’t others make it stop?
Supporting characters add depth to the book. We see growth expressed in a genuine, believable way. Characters grapple with the book’s main themes.
Trope should be proud of Hush, Little Bird. It’s a good, easy read of a complex topic and will reach the heart of readers. Thought-provoking and well written.
Carolyn Martinez is the author of ‘Finding Love: 7 Things You Need to Know Before You Date Again’, and ‘Inspiring IVF Stories’. www.hawkeyepublishing.com.au