Following your heart sounds like a good way to live your life - but it's rarely that easy to live it day to day, and at some point, it might not be so good for someone else's heart.
Christina Baker Kline's Bird in Hand is a novel where not much happens, but what happens could happen to almost any of us, even though we'd rather not think about it. What it's ultimately about are the things we'd rather not think about, and the questions we really aren't sure we want to ask ourselves, because then we might have to answer them...and the answers could change everything.
Kline's domestic drama focuses on the shift in relationship dynamics among four people - two couples with a long history together - over the course of a year in which one of the women is involved in a fatal car accident and the other publishes an autoboigraphical novel. The narrative viewpoints shift between the two women, old friends Alison and Claire, and their respective husbands, Charlie and Ben, and the structure of the novel mixes flashbacks through the couples' shared past with the crises of their present.
The characters are, in many ways, people we've met before, and that helped me connect with their story. The fact that I have - not totally by choice - struggled through some of the same conflicts and life questioning that they're going through was another attribute that made me fly through this novel; it struck several chords with me. I really wasn't sure I'd like any of the characters early on, but gradually I developed sympathy for each of them and their place in a complicated situation.
That's another thing that Kline does well in Bird in Hand; she recognizes that the questions we prefer to avoid can have difficult, sometimes scary, answers...and yet, those answers might be the right ones, at least at the time. We may find ourselves questioning them again later on. Bird in Hand doesn't really say anything new, but it says it well, and is a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece of women's fiction.