Our latest book group book was “H Is For Hawk” by Helen MacDonald. We were interestingly mixed in our opinions, but overall she won over nearly all the hearts and minds in the group, despite most of us not thinking we were remotely interested in learning about birds. I loved it the most. Have now put it in my top 5 favourite books (although I can’t remember the others, apart from “To kill A Mockingbird”) and gave it an “E Is For Excellent.”
We all agreed that her study on grief after the death of her father was incredibly honest and moving – one friend, having lost her father just 6 months ago found it extremely cathartic and it led to an interesting conversation about loss and our parents. Helen describes bereavement as something you have to deal with alone. “Shocking loss isn’t to be shared, no matter how hard you try.” She went on to ask us to imagine your whole family in a room, everyone there that you love. “So then what happens is someone comes into the room and punches you all in the stomach. Each one of you. Really Hard. So you’re all on the floor. Right? So the thing is, you all share the same kind of pain, exactly the same, but you’re too busy experiencing total agony to feel anything other than completely alone.” A good description we felt.
Her book is the perfect gift for her father – such a shame he isn’t around to appreciate it – he would have been so proud. It has a timeless quality about it as she includes references from the annuls of the history of Falconry, taken from all the classic books and yet, with her father being an acclaimed war photographer she brings it back to the modern day by listing key figures who attend his funeral.
A must read.