All the Little Bird-Hearts

Hachette Audio. Dec. 2023. 9:14 hrs. ISBN 9781668642436. $27.99. F
With her Booker Prize–nominated debut, Lloyd-Barlow offers a lyrical and quietly emotional portrait of Sunday Forrester, a neurodivergent mother. Sunday lives an ordered life, avoiding noise and brightly colored foods while relying on a Victorian etiquette book to help her navigate social situations. Sunday is divorced and lives with her 16-year-old daughter, Dolly, whose teenage rebellion is just beginning. When Vita and Rollo, a glamorously eccentric couple from London, move in next door, Sunday’s life is upended. Vita is unlike anyone Sunday has ever met; she flouts social conventions and crosses personal boundaries with abandon. She is intoxicating, and the two families become inseparable. Rose Akroyd narrates, communicating the unsettling atmosphere as hints about Vita’s disquieting past begin to surface. She captures the layered tension as Vita becomes increasingly intertwined with Dolly, and Sunday can only watch helplessly from a distance. Lloyd-Barlow’s portrait of Sunday, whose steadfast love provides a homing beacon for Dolly, is moving and beautifully drawn.
VERDICT This affecting story of a mother’s resilience, loyalty, and unbounded love is highly recommended for fans of Kim Hooper’s Ways the World Could End or Amy Feltman’s All the Things We Don’t Talk About.
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