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Reviewed by Molly Garcia for Readers' Favorite
Birdie Nook by Laurie Ann Pokin is a short horror story based around the main character Birdie. It starts with the history of how the character gets her unusual name. Birdie was supposed to be a boy called Burt; however, when the baby turns out to be a girl, her mother changes the name to Birdie. Resented by a mother who desperately wanted a son, Birdie has a difficult start in life. Things don’t improve at school where Birdie is given the nickname Big Burt due to her being so overweight. Pokin continues Birdie’s tale as she grows up, leaves home, and gets herself an unfulfilling job. Birdie, isolated by her difficulties in building relationships, and struggling with her weight, finds ways of coping. The plot centers on this dysfunctional character who is damaged by her childhood and full of self-loathing. There are times when she talks about the positive changes she’d like to make in her life, but her good intentions are always short-lived. Birdie constantly returns to her tried and tested methods of managing, and then ends up back in the cycle of self-hatred.
The way Laurie Ann Pokin describes her characters brings them to life. Birdie’s physical appearance is a big part of the plot, and the author doesn’t pull any punches, ensuring that we understand how unfortunate Birdie is. There is also a vulnerability to Birdie that makes her someone who you can identify with. This is cleverly interwoven with the descriptions of her childhood, and her constant desire to improve herself. Birdie has a checklist of changes she’d like to make, but never quite has the motivation to stick with it. I am an avid fan of horror stories and Birdie Nook didn’t disappoint. The way Laurie Ann Pokin spins the character’s flaws into the plot kept me reading, and it is structured in a way that kept my interest. I highly recommend it to fans of horror who enjoy the monsters-in-the-closet and things-that-go-bump-in-the-night style of storytelling.