This one started off rough for me but by the end? Goodness.
Nest by Esther Ehrlich is about a ten year old girl nicknamed Chirp; she’s growing up in the early seventies where there is an innocence that just feels so warm and safe. She’s Jewish in a Protestant town, has a shrink for a father, and a dancer mother. Chirp and her older sister, Rachel, have a quiet existence with a carefree family even if they think their dad is a little too self-actualized.
But then their mom whose life has been filled with dancing is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and the depression that has dogged her on and off her whole life comes back full force. Watching Chirp, Rachel, and their father cope without their strong matriarch healthy breaks your heart. I love Chirp’s character; her imagination, her love of bird-watching, her friendship with the neighbor boy, Joey–all of it just felt like it should be in a manual for how sweet being a young girl can be.
Then when tragedy hits, I wept. I just wanted to wrap Chirp up in my arms and protect her from the world that seems so cruel sometimes. Witnessing Chirp try to understand her loss is deep and powerful.
I loved this book. It did take me a while to get into it though, so if you pick it up, give it time. Nest by Esther Ehrlich stays with you.