The Woman Who Heals With Her HandsFebruary 1, 2011 No Comments
As well as telling the story of Ellen McKinnon and her life as a healer in Ireland, The Bird Woman shows what it would have been like to live there during the time of The Troubles.
Ellen does not like having healing hands or being clairvoyant — it scares her and she has grown up in Northern Ireland as a Protestant knowing that only Catholics believe in that kind of thing. She has visions of people dying before they do and it drives her so mad that she ends up in a mental hospital.
Ellen has an abusive husband who she married as a teenager and after a chance meeting with Liam, who is a sculptor from Ireland, she decides to run away and move to the south with him.
The rest of the story is about the love between them, the children they have, the friends they make, the ups and downs of marriage, how she deals with her healing gift, and what it’s like to constantly feel like an alien in a foreign land (she is Protestant living in a Catholic country).
This is an interesting book and I definitely found it interesting to see a small part of what the Irish Troubles would have been like to live through. The character felt constantly alienated and felt like she had to constantly defend her actions and that people were judging her. Maybe it was all in her head, but he point is that the differences between Catholic and Protestant culture was something that was always at the front of her mind.
The book ends on a happy note because after trouble with family and friends, and the death of her estranged mother, Ellen finally seems to find some kind of peace with herself and her life.
- I’m thinking now that maybe when you reach that point you can’t be anyone else but yourself, just as the tulips flower red and gold, year after year, and they’d still flower red and gold in another place, though they might not look so well nor bloom so free.
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