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[personal profile] booksofafeather
Short review: A boy discovers he's growing wings one day and is horrified, but learns to understand their beauty... in a way. This is a harsh book with a lot of negative feeling aimed towards winged people, and although the book tries to have a good message, there's too much that's negative in here for the message to really shine out. Also, after the way the book is written, the ending feels like a bad betrayal. This book tries, but it's shaky, there are better books out there.

Writing: Average... other from a couple of writing errors, there's nothing much to say good or bad about the writing.

From a winged person's perspective...: For most of the book there's nothing to make a winged person happy. The main character hates his wings, his family hate his wings (and abuse him for it), he sees nothing good about his experience. But he does learn to "love" the wings (I say "love" for a reason you see later) and the descriptions that happen at this point are quite strong and positive. There is some very realistic flying and they take into account things like the kinds of tiredness you would feel, the beauty of thermals, and there is a part where it feels like he is "chased into the air" in a helpful way that really feels like they are treating him like a baby bird, trying to fly. People describe him as "feeling like he's being made ready for something" and a lot of winged people will sympathise with that feeling. It doesn't really describe how it feels to fly, at the time, but there is a lot of talking afterwards about how it feels like something you can't put in words. The main character's attitude around this time also has a strong positive message, about how he will decide about his body for himself, not let someone else's feelings affect what he does with it. There's beauty in this, but, it all gets let down again later.

Trigger warnings: Very bad treating of a child by his parents because he's different: abandoning and emotional abuse, described in a vivid way. Every word you can think of is used to insult him and his wings and it's used constantly. Threatening to remove wings in surgery. Threatening to rip off wings. Eventually, removing the wings. Some slight ED triggers.

More thoughts...: Wow... this book was hard. And, if you are triggery it's a little of a rollercoaster. I don't really know what score to give it in the end: it has some strong positive things and a lot of strong negative things.

What really hurts me about this book is the flow of the plot. It begins in a very negative way with everyone hating the main character and his wings. There is nothing beautiful to be found here, he hates them and everyone else hates them too, everyone's scared of how he "won't be quite human". *sigh* His father can only think about how it will risk him trying to become a mayor, if the world finds out about his son's wings. His mother says things like "please be careful not to touch me with them". None of them will ever show him any kindness when he needs it most. They try to explain a little at the end of the book, but, the reasons are not really good ones. They're just bad parents ^^;

But, near to the end of the book this is turned around. He is taught to fly and he loves it. He decides he's not a freak, and doesn't care about anyone else's opinion and that he will have the right to decide what happens to his body, not his parents. This is beautiful, and, I thought it might save the book.

But at the very end, he chooses to have his wings cut off anyway. Because of how painful the beginning of the book is, and how much the near-to-the-end part is a relief from it, and gives you a small hope after all that pain... this feels very betraying. In another book, this might have hurt less but because of the emotional abuse in this book, it feels like it hurts the fragile attempts to have a positive message near the end. I suppose they are trying to give a message of "you can accept difference, but also make a choice" because part of the message of this book is also that he learns to accept someone that everyone in his school always hated (a six fingered girl), but it just turns out feeling like it's saying, "we can accept something a little weird, like six fingers, but if it's too weird like wings, that would be too many problems of course". It's just the structure of this book that makes it feel betraying.

This book does have a few nice moments, like recognising the need of a winged person not to be trapped indoors all the time, and they do think about clothes altering, seating, baths, sleeping, etc. But, it's disappointing in the end. If you are buying for young children, I definitely don't recommend this because it will definitely give them a bad negative image, this book says it's a children's book but it will burn a message into young hearts forever and that message is a very mixed and confusing one. I am very anti-ageism, but this is not about saying "a child can't handle scary things" but it is about teaching a child a message at a young age when they are still discovering what they believe philosophically. That's very different! So, I don't hesitate to say, don't buy this book for your children. If you are an older child or adult who feels that you can handle it, you might want to read it, but, be prepared for it to hurt a lot. I think I will have to give it two and a half out of five, in the end.
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