Review: When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams

What does it mean to have a voice? Terry Tempest Williams, award-winning Utah author, explores the concept of voice in her new book. Terry’s mother told her, as she lay dying of cancer at age fifty-four, that she had left Terry all her journals, but that she must not read them until after she was gone. A week later her mother passed away and Terry opened the first journal. It was blank. She opened the second. It was blank. And the third, forth, fifth. Three shelves of pretty, cloth-bound journals – all empty.

This is the kind of book you read while pushing your kid in the backyard swing because you can’t bear to put it down. This is the kind of book you read with a highlighter in hand. The kind of book that reaches in and touches a part of your heart and lingers in the mind. The kind that you wake early to read and then cry silently, so as not to wake your sleeping husband, as the words speak directly to your soul.

Terry Tempest Williams’ writing is beautiful and evocative, her wisdom rich and her insights life-changing. Few books truly have the power to change us for the better, but this one does. I am forever touched by the fifty-four short chapters that explore what it means to be a person, a woman, and to have a voice. Terry is able to say what we all feel deep inside, but struggle to express. I will read it again and again in an effort to absorb all that the 208 pages contain.

Content note: About half a dozen uses of the F-word and a description of a painting of female anatomy.

Terry Tempest Williams is speaking and signing books at the University of Utah on June 12, 2012.Visit the KING’S ENGLISH BOOKSHOP website for all the details. I can’t wait!

CLICK HERE to buy the book from your local, independent bookstore.

CLICK HERE to buy the book from Amazon.

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