Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Language of Sparrows

The Language of Sparrows

Rachel Phifer crafts a beautiful story about broken people and what happens when they find each other in the midst of various crises. April is raising a teenaged daughter on her own as she mourns the loss of a life she expected. Sierra is obsessed with languages, but refuses to communicate the important things with her mom. Luca, a single elderly gentleman, becomes the unlikeliest of friends, despite the deep wounds he carries from his time in a Romanian gulag. His son Nick, a teacher, encourages Sierra at school, and warily agrees to allow her to study with his father.

These fascinating characters intersect with each other and form an ad hoc family of sorts. When Sierra and Nick separately learn the truth about their fathers, worlds are turned upside down, and brokenness seems to move beyond repair.

I think it’s the brokenness of each character that makes them so relatable. We are all broken in one way or another. We need people in our lives to help us mend. And at times, I think we all feel completely alone in our pain, helpless to heal. So this story looks at brokenness and the different ways we (as humans) seek healing.

I love several details in the story, including the fact that the single mom and daughter live in a neighborhood that is not overly safe. This makes it real for me. Also, the fact that the teenager is highly intelligent, especially when it comes to learning languages. Since her mother is not skilled at languages, her daughter’s obsession almost hinders the communication between them, since she is literally reading and writing in different languages. Most parents of teenagers feel like they speak a different language, so the irony is lovely.

Please check this story out. It’s truly enjoyable and the characters linger in the best of ways. You can get to know Rachel Phifer on facebook or her website.

Do you speak more than one language fluently? Do you feel like your kids speak a different language altogether, even though you were the one to teach them how to speak?

Please leave a comment to register for this week’s prize. 
Review by Jennifer Fromke


  1. I do not speak another language and sometimes I think I don't speak clearly enough the language I was born to speak. Our words are spoken to many and many can twist and turn our words in so many different ways.

    The Language of Sparrows sounds like a fascinating book. Thank you for the review.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  2. This sounds like a great book. I am always sticking my foot in my mouth, saying things that sound good in my head, but come out wrong.