One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

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Topping it off, the story is filled with blatant examples of research failure. Crows are depicted as the stupidest birds in the books, magpies apparently are a race of evil, and worst of all; Bird rape. Which would have been believable in a book about ducks, not magpies. Aug 28, PaperTigerMaddy rated it it was ok Shelves: The fact that a book starring a robin, an owl and a bunny rabbit manages to be both sexist and classist almost makes me think Mr Woodall deserves some sort of prize.

So despite the legitimate complaints of plenty of reviewers here, I actually really enjoyed part one, One For Sorrow. The simplistic storyline and cut-out characters lends this a fairytale-like quality which is very absorbing if you're prepared to suspend disbelief.

The dialogue is dreadfully affected and expositi The fact that a book starring a robin, an owl and a bunny rabbit manages to be both sexist and classist almost makes me think Mr Woodall deserves some sort of prize. The dialogue is dreadfully affected and exposition is dropped with all the subtlety of a doodlebug, but if you take its pompous nature as part of the package it's an exciting and almost moving story. Grimm's fairytales are pretty brutal, so I didn't find the savage horror and gore jarring here either. Apart from the rape.

But I can totally understand why others found it unbearable. However, then we get to part two, Two For Joy. How do I put this. Two For Joy is atrocious. Everything I enjoyed about the first half became a pet hate in the second. The tension of the story pales in comparison to book one - it's like an extended epilogue. As though we're idiots who've already forgotten what happened 20 pages ago, Woodall frequently reiterates the story line of the first half of the novel in I don't see why it was written but to make up pages.

The dialogue goes from jarring to just plain offensive. So here's where I got the whiff of sexism: As this book stands, there are basically zero female characters which don't fit a stereotypical mould. Damsel in distress, pure and innocent victim, etc. I was expecting that, so I didn't let it bother me. But it irked that in book which rarely bothered to include proper dialogue, the entire of page consisted of a male friend randomly and pointlessly telling the female lead that she is beautiful.

In fact the number of times that Portia was referred to as 'Beautiful' in lieu of any other positive adjectives - brave, clever, loyal, whatever - started to really piss me off. The entire subplot of Katya's rape, and bringing her child up to exact vengeance, I found both belittling and offensive. In the end, it actually turns out to be pointless anyway - which left me disgusted. Why write it if both characters eventually serve no purpose to the story? Why focus on something so vile in what is, at the end of the day, a children's book So as for the classism? Mickey is the only character - apart from some of the henchbaddies - who doesn't talk as though he's a duchess in a bad Austen adaptation.

In fact, his speech pointedly suggests a regional accent.


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He uses contractions, occasionally swears, and says the word 'mate' a lot. He's also subtly called Mickey in a book full of Olivers, Celines, and Merions. It's dumb, but I can deal with it. Until a bizarre transformation comes over Mickey, and somewhere between pages and , his accent mysteriously vanishes, and he starts using Received Pronunciation like the rest of them. Then on page we get this gem: And bloody hell, did you just link accent to intellect? By the end of this book, which is a crap anticlimax, btw I was so annoyed with it that I revised my half-way decision to give it three stars.

If you pick it up, don't even bother with the second half of the novel. Dec 20, Chris rated it did not like it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I think this is suppose to be a child's book. I'm not sure because it reads like the book itself doesn't know what it wants to be. If it is a children's book than why does it have a rape in it? If it's an adult book or even YA , than why is the writing childish? Is Woodall trying to sound like Adams and not just doing a good job?

One problem with the book are everything is oversimplified. This wouldn't be a problem if it was a children's book, but that brings us back to the rape, which is a bir I think this is suppose to be a child's book. This wouldn't be a problem if it was a children's book, but that brings us back to the rape, which is a bird rape. It's not overly graphic, but considering the simplification and writing level, it seems out of place. I also find it hard to believe that any bird would give up eating bugs.

Females characters are very flat and rely on the male characters too much. The excuse of "they're animals" doesn't work. Look at Watership Down and the female rabbits there; look at Horwood and his moles.

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One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

Additionally, the motivations of several characters were too simple and not deep enough. Jan 10, Penny rated it did not like it. Almost from the first page I was inwardly shouting "show me, don't tell me! By page 7, the plucky Robin hero had found a friendly Grebe who advised him to search out the wise old owl in the ancient Tangel What a disappointment! By page 7, the plucky Robin hero had found a friendly Grebe who advised him to search out the wise old owl in the ancient Tangelwood - and the author had completely lost my respect.

This is a children's book, but there is no excuse for lazy cliche and awkward in-filling of plot where there should be real dialogue and action. I've struggled on to p. Nov 02, J. An interesting premise, but poorly executed. I do believe very strongly though that a bit more research should have gone into this book. Robin eggs are described as being reddish-brown, but in reality they are a light blue color. Ravens are characterized as stupid and slow - they are actually quite intelligent birds. Moreover, some of the things the birds do are so entirely unbirdlike that it goes against the established nature of birds in our human world.

Birds vow to stop eating insects, robin An interesting premise, but poorly executed. Birds vow to stop eating insects, robins congregate with, persuade, and fight alongside eagles, and so forth. In the human world, birds don't do that; moreover, it's the sort of thing we would perhaps notice if they suddenly started. They are trapped within our world but failing to fit the boundaries of that world. Mar 25, Kate rated it did not like it Shelves: This would have been a great story The writing is really souless and plodding.

I couldn't even make it past twenty pages. Feb 14, Kaye rated it it was ok Shelves: I guess I liked this book, but I wasn't loving it. The audio was fine, but not compelling, the story interesting but not riveting Jun 14, Geoff Battle rated it it was ok. Fans of animal literature aren't spoiled for choice and when a new angle appears in a novel it can generate quite a bit of hype. Clive Woodall's story of one Robin's fateful part in a war between magpies and the rest of the bird kingdom should make great reading. The story never really creates any depth in with it's characters, although the evil magpies get most of the exploration.

It's adult at times, with some quite graphic and visceral scenes and it's the menace of the ma Fans of animal literature aren't spoiled for choice and when a new angle appears in a novel it can generate quite a bit of hype. It's adult at times, with some quite graphic and visceral scenes and it's the menace of the magpies which keep you interested. The hero's however are quite replaceable, which is a great shame. The most disappointing aspect is that the book is split in to two stories, with some overlap in terms of characters.

I feel a more canny author would have have crafted this in to one story, which would have created a more epic novel. Overall, it's rather predictable, a tad shallow, but a pleasant enough book to wile away a few hours. Feb 08, Holly rated it liked it Shelves: Kinda hard to believe this is a young adult book as it has a great deal of violence, murder and rape within.


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Even harder to believe after listening to the interview with the author at the end that Disney has bought the rights to make an animated movie out of it. That aside - it was pretty good. Kept my interest and didn't make me question the "reality" of Birddom. Will I read the sequel? Download a black and white pdf printable here: One for Sorrow Nursery Rhyme Printout. That depends on whether you are an optimist, or a pessimist! Magpies were traditionally viewed as a bad omen, mostly based on superstitions and old folk tales. Their appearance foretold the coming of evil.

These sad versions of the poem from the s are based on the cycle of life, with the meaning that everyone eventually succumbs to sorrow and woe. Like crows, the appearance of magpies was viewed as an omen of death because these birds are scavengers, coming to feast on dead bodies of other small animals. Magpies were thought to gather in groups above areas where animals were expected to soon die.

One for sorrow, Two for mirth. Three for a funeral, Four for birth. Seven for the Devil, his own self. The more happy, positive versions of the poem evolved over the centuries, when bird lovers began admiring magpies for their beauty, resourcefulness, and intelligence. But even the sorrowful versions are lovely, as both sorrow and joy are what make life so meaningful.

What Animal is Your Child? They have dug all the way down to the coffin, tearing it into splinters, carrying it away…. She shrieks, running into their midst, flapping her arms, grabbing what she can salvage from their grip. How dare they, how dare they do something so obscene…. The Undertaker, who forsook everything twelve years ago—her name, her partner, her livelihood—sat in a house she had built with her own two hands. She laid eyes on these fragments, all that remained of her daughter, and wept. The red jade woman stood at her front door. Her scarf was no longer piled on her head, but now was wrapped around a bundle in her arms.

So, the Undertaker took the child. Unlike the other children, this one had not been embalmed. She had to wear a special mask and gloves to perform the usual rites. The red jade woman hovered by her, helping when she could, casting glances at the door. The Undertaker had her choose a coffin; she picked one with a rich mahogany hue.

When all was ready, they carried the coffin out to the basalt slab. The crows had gathered in the trees above, their bright eyes focused down. The woman eyed them nervously. To distract her, the Undertaker had her say the prayers over the boy. She pressed her hands above the coffin, half singing, half humming her prayers. Without the scarf, her hair was short, tight black coils peppered with gray.

After a long time, she took out a coin, a copper with rose tarnish, laid it on the bundle, then stepped back. But the crows were already rising as a black cloud, harsh caws pelting the air.

One for Sorrow ~ The Magpie Poem

They surrounded the fleeing woman, who shrieked and hunched down, shielding the body with her own. Her partner waded in, crying at them to stop. But the crows refused to be thwarted. They pecked and tore with beaks and claws. The Undertaker yanked the silk bag from around her neck. Making clucking sounds to catch their attention, she scattered its contents on the basalt stone.

The crows, sensing something that had been denied for so long, left off their punishment of the women. They descended on the altar. Then, in a cloud of feathers, they took off flying west, taking the objects to wherever they always took the children. The Undertaker watched them go, shielding her eyes against the glare of blue sky. Then she took a deep breath and turned to deal with the bruised, sobbing cornrowed woman, still clutching the dead child tight to her breast, unwilling to let go. The Undertaker offered her bedroom to the red jade woman that night.

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The next morning, they buried the child by the slight rise. The crows watched without saying a word. Later, the red jade woman joined the Undertaker on the back porch. The cornrowed woman sat by the makeshift grave, glaring at the crows who watched from the trees. That was all they were now. But it takes time. She took the woman into the house and showed her the workshop. She showed her the coffins, the clothes, the instruments used for cleaning, the toys and stuffed animals. She then brought the woman to the crows, who cawed and nudged each other, but made no move to attack.

But this is only temporary. You must be ready for when that happens. When you are ready, give your child away. But you will accept it one day. The crows will know. The woman clutched the bag and gave a slight nod. She went to join the cornrowed woman, taking up the same posture the Undertaker had for so many years now. She went inside, packed her belongings, which were few. She dug until she found the slip of paper that carried her old name. A pair of crows circled over her and dropped a coin at her feet.

She stepped over it and kept on walking. Wanak lives in Madison, Wis. She reviews books for Lightspeed Magazine and is a graduate of the class of Viable Paradise. Writing stories keeps her sane.

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Visit her at her website: The Cafe in the Woods. Since then he has worked as an art teacher, graphic designer and traveled the world looking for inspiration to create mysterious worlds that he keeps finding in himself.

One for Sorrow - Nursery Rhyme

The crows let out a cry and descended onto the coffin. But she would keep the coin.

One for Sorrow – Nursery Rhymes

The crows aided her in this task. Then where do they go? What do the crows do with the children?