Title: The Blackbird Season
Author: Kate Moretti
Published: September 26, 2017
Obtained: Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: The day a thousand blackbirds fell from the sky in a small Pennsylvania town, other news was brewing. Beloved teacher and baseball coach Nate Winters is accused of sleeping with a student. Then, only days later, that same student, Lucia Hamm, disappears without a trace. Many in the town think he’s guilty of both a relationship with a student and for murdering her. Even his wife, Alecia, is doubtful of his innocence. The only one on his side is friend and fellow teacher Bridget Peterson. She finds integral pieces of evidence to support what she believed happened to Lucia. But will anyone believe her? And will she be able to put the pieces together before it’s too late?
The Blackbird Season has me very torn. On one end, this was a pretty good thriller with a great twist and an ending that (sort of) surprised me. Kate Moretti did a great job dropping subtle hints throughout the narrative that allowed me, as the reader, to piece together the puzzle while the main characters were doing the same thing. The four points of view in the novel were pretty substantial, giving us insight into multiple perspectives of the storyline.
On the other hand, the multiple perspectives got a bit confusing. Knowing the character names wasn’t the problem, per say. It was more that each point of view came with a date, and these dates were nonlinear. They all centered around the time of the blackbirds falling from the sky. I understand why Moretti did it this way, so that the reader isn’t privy to too much information from the start. But it was so easy for me to get confused. I constantly had to flip back to the beginning of the chapters to check the dates and correlate all the information.
A quote from the book itself can sum up my feelings about this problem: “She felt like she had a flimsy, tenuous grip on the truth. That she had all the pieces, and still couldn’t assemble the puzzle.”
Like I said before, the ending became a bit predictable as I was offered the clues, but I didn’t guess the full extend of the conclusion. It was tied up pretty neatly, in my opinion, but I did think there were a few unanswered questions. This wasn’t a huge problem, but it threw me a bit.
As I’ve read before, The Blackbird Season was set in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business. This idea helped push the storyline, and most of what happened probably wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for gossip-mongers in the town. Another interesting aspect was that Alecia and Nate’s son has autism, and I liked the idea that small towns make for a cesspool of obnoxiously nosy people. The townspeople begin to take sides on the case. On one side are the parents of teenage girls in Nate’s classes, who believe he’s guilty and are fearful for their own daughters. On the other side are the parents of baseball players who have nothing but wonderful words for Nate’s care and coaching.
One of Nate’s major character flaws in The Blackbird Season is the fact that he gets too close to his students. He’s hooked on social media under the guise that he wants to know what’s going on with his students, but I think this is what gets him into trouble. He’s always cared about what others think of him, and just wants everyone to like him. In this sense, he gets too close to Lucia, trying his best to help her. Meanwhile, all of his attempts to help her get misconstrued as a sexual relationship, which may or may not have happened.
I’m not sorry I read this book, as it was a very good story. I’m just a little disappointed in what I read. The hype surrounding this book was extremely palpable, but I just don’t think it lived up at all. Despite that, I did read through The Blackbird Season rather quickly, and the ending was ultimately satisfying for me.
I liked it, I just didn’t LOVE it. What I DO LOVE is that stunning purple cover!
Memorable Quote: “She knew now, and didn’t know before, that there were gradients to love. That sometimes saving someone requires giving up everything, including yourself, and some people need that to feel whole.
You never know the deep down truth about anybody, except yourself. And sometimes, not even then.”