Review: The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I chose to read this book for Banned Books Week 2013. A quote from that September 14th blog post:

In tenth grade, this book was assigned to us. It was the most difficult book I had read to that point, but it was also by far the one I wanted to finish most. Traumatic is a good word to describe reading this book. And it has taken a couple decades to want to try reading it again.

Due to a number of parents complaining about the book, our teacher took back the copies. I marked this book as read on Goodreads, but I do not think now I really did finish it. So I plan on finishing it and making it right.

So now I have finished it.

I still think this is the most difficult book I have ever read. The main character suffers constantly from things I can only describe as torture, rape, and assault. I have seen some complaints about the amount of sex and torture in A Song of Ice and Fire. The child in this book is under the age of 12 and goes through more in the first 100 pages than the entirety of ASoIaF. Reading it was an emotional struggle, but I think a book that brings out that much emotion is good.

It lost a star for the ending. The last 30 or so pages left me wondering why they were included as they felt like an entirely different book. Maybe that was something like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder where after so much terror a normal text no longer feels right.

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