Rebecca O'Connor has recorded the story of a developing relationship between a woman and her bird as they become hunting partners. It's a rocky journey, marked by failures, frustrations, and fly-offs early on, but it gets easier. O'Connor understands that their success as a team depends on the two of them learning from one another.
This relatively short (just over 200 pages) memoir has a natural narrative arc, centered on Rebecca's acquisition of Anakin and their progress toward - and sometimes away from - the goals she's set for them as hunters, but the telling of the story is less straightforward than that. Periodic flashbacks to O'Connor's past - which includes abandonment by both parents at one time or another and victimization by sexual predators - offer insight into her motivations, and there is additional context in the challenges she faces in her relationships with other falconers, her boyfriend, and her mother during the time she begins working with Anakin.
O'Connor's writing style is quite direct for the most part, but there are passages where it's very expressive and nearly poetic. I was completely drawn into this story - agonizing over Rebecca and Anakin's setbacks, cheering their successes, and rooting for them both all the way. At the same time, I felt frustrated at times by a sense that I was getting glimpses into Rebecca, but not really being given the chance to know her; I think this came from wanting her to expand more on some of the flashbacks. Once I was further into the book and had a better sense of how the flashbacks fit into the larger narrative, I was able to let go of that frustration and enjoy the story much more.