Review of 142 Ostriches by April Davila
Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Tallulah shifts from resenting her future and her obligations to taking charge of her life and how she intends to live it.
In 142 Ostriches, April Davila lays out a setting in the Southern California desert on an ostrich ranch that is richly detailed and wonderfully easy to picture. Her descriptions of the birds and their personalities and habits were really fascinating.
This relatively short book explores Tallulah’s shift from resenting her future and her obligations to realizing and actively participating in making choices about her life and how she intends to live it.
I admit I was hoping for some more character development—for example, that each of the black sheep in the family (Scott, Mom) would show a little more depth or exhibit some characteristic besides their overreaching disappointing and sometimes aggressive failure at being reliable.
Tallulah comes to some late and potentially illuminating conclusions about her grandmother’s parenting, motivations, and feelings (which do help create some measure of sympathy for Scott, who is otherwise difficult to empathize with despite his brokenness and desperation).
Tallulah ultimately realizes where she believes her fulfilled future path lies. And although I feel like readers will be mentally way ahead of her on this, I didn’t mind seeing where things were going—mainly because I spent so much of the book worried about her poor choices, lies (and lies of omission), logistical issues preventing necessary jobs from getting done, etc. etc. It was very stressful!
NetGalley and Kensington Books provided me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What did you think?
Sometimes I have trouble watching characters make choices that implode their lives, so I do the reading version of peeking out from between my fingers during a scary movie--read nervously and hope for the best. I wanted to give Tallulah a talking-to at multiple points here.