Alternate Cover Edition ISBN ISBN The Thorn Birds Is A Robust, Romantic Saga Of A Singular Family, The Clearys It Begins In The Early Part Of This Century, When Paddy Cleary Moves His Wife, Fiona, And Their Seven Children To Drogheda, The Vast Australian Sheep Station Owned By His Autocratic And Childless Older Sister And It Ends Than Half A Century Later, When The Only Survivor Of The Third Generation, The Brilliant Actress Justine O Neill, Sets A Course Of Life And Love Halfway Around The World From Her RootsThe Central Figures In This Enthralling Story Are The Indomitable Meggie, The Only Cleary Daughter, And The One Man She Truly Loves, The Stunningly Handsome And Ambitious Priest Ralph De Bricassart Ralph S Course Moves Him A Long Way Indeed, From A Remote Outback Parish To The Halls Of The Vatican And Meggie S Except For A Brief And Miserable Marriage Elsewhere, Is Fixed To The Drogheda That Is Part Of Her Bones But Distance Does Not Dim Their Feelings Though It Shapes Their LivesWonderful Characters People This Book Strong And Gentle, Paddy, Hiding A Private Memory Dutiful Fiona, Holding Back Love Because It Once Betrayed Her, Violent, Tormented Frank, And The Other Hardworking Cleary Sons Who Give The Boundless Lands Of Drogheda The Energy And Devotion Most Men Save For Women Meggie Ralph And Meggie S Children, Justine And Dane And The Land Itself Stark, Relentless In Its Demands, Brilliant In Its Flowering, Prey To Gigantic Cycles Of Drought And Flood, Rich When Nature Is Bountiful, Surreal Like No Other Place On Earth First Edition Jacket Oh my fucking God This book I was standing in the kitchen this morning angrily chopping veg and I couldn t work out why, then I realised, it was this book just making me irrationally angry, when I wasn t even reading it Tragedies within the first 50 pages, let s list them.1 She gets a lovely doll 1.5 Doll is trashed.2 She gets sent to school at last 2.5 School is terrible she s beaten every day.3 It s ok she makes an awesome friend 3.5 Friend hates her, fuck you, nits.4 She realllly wants a blue teaset.4.5 Family gets themselves into debt buying it, she no longer wants it and it brings her no joy.5 I m allowed to go to Church with the others 5.5 Fuck Church is boring I will never achieve spiritual fulfillment.6 My parents don t love me but my brother does 36.5 My brother has tried to run off to War and is now irreparably broken.That was basically the whole book, over and over again There was some shit about how priests should be allowed to marry because what is God if not Love and some other stuff about being married to the land and where babies come from but it was mainly a series of setting up good things and then knocking them over again like a game of tragic bowling.At one point they meet the priest, he is like fuck your hair is sexy darlin ignoring the fact she is Nine He lusts after her for the rest of the book but he is Married to God and the author takes pains to mention how he can never get it up, several times Apart from about 4 days in a honeymoon hotel bareback where he never again considers he could have made her pregnant, even when being faced with his own son for several hours a day for 10 years Nobody ever says fuck man he looks just like you, and never once does he think You know she left her husband right close to when this kid was conceived right about the time of those 4 days in a honeymoon hotel Oh man I m not going to go into it Don t read it Please. This beaut of a soap opera has been around for decades for excellent reason Epics have been forgotten readily current authors satisfy readers or do not, as the case may be with smaller stories smaller lives.McCullough has the tenacity to include three generations in this sprawling saga, and as family portraits usually tell of differences between the generations PLUS the ties that bind them together to a home, this one exactly does that in an extremely entertaining fashion.Fee marries her second choice, not the man of her dreams, and becomes pregnant with or less the number of digits one has in both hands she lives a quiet ironically isolationist existence Her daughter Meggie, the protagonist until her daughter takes the helm, also suffers her mother s character flaws fate plus genes a maudling story make Her priest Ralph, in what is the central love story, chooses God over his heart The same is not repeated but is indeed echoed in the last generation as Justine, who finally breaks the curse, leaves the warmth and monotony of her family in Drogheda to actually take flight follow her instincts which had failed the Cleary women in the past.There are only 19 chapters in this massive chronology and many events occur, mostly random and sometimes poetic, but they never fail to surprise There are so many characters, all of them, you feel, actually employ humanity, act like actual persons that may have lived There are acts of stupidity and compassion People repress many feelings, for personal convictions than for social or familial obligations we seldom don t visit in books such as these Ralph is an idiot for causing so much pain to both he and his love What does that say about organized religion and the crimson clothed of the almighty Vatican The Clearys, though not intelligent mainly because of the collective Irish pauper mentality the patriarchal figure bestows upon his offspring Papa Cleary and Ralph s proxy, Luke pretty much F things up for the rest They are, however, extremely hard workers and this pays off well There are many morals, many moments of euphoria, and even slight by today s standards snippets of hot erotica You pretty much stand witness to one of the most complex yet endearing pieces of literature.Highlights 1 the death of one of the Cleary boy s via warthog asphyxiation immediately following the death of his father via fiery holocaust 2 Ralph meeting his love at her retreat where she is in isolation is definately one of the most romantic notions I have ever read it is written with the finest sense of what love really is 3 learning what French Letters mean 4 transition from New Zealand to Australia to Rome, Greece, London Such sprawls indicate that life can expand from its moldy origins to experience infinite possiblities, arrive at distal ends.I recommend this book for someone not afraid to having a two three week relationship with a soap opera that, unlike those on t.v., does not insult the audience with romantic cliches or expected disasters The novel is organic a testament of lives that experience pain and pleasure The reader only experiences the latter. I ve wanted to read this book for years, but I m glad I waited till I was at a stage in my life when I might appreciate it the most though it wasn t deliberate I didn t know anything about the story before I started except that it s a classic Australian novel, epic in scope, and was made into a mini series or something starring Rachel Ward years ago I like not knowing much about books before I read them, though it leaves you wide open for the story to be told, and absorbed.This is indeed an epic book It spans three generations of the Cleary family, focusing mostly on Meggie Starting in New Zealand on the day of her fourth birthday, The Thorn Birds follows the large family of Paddy and Fee and their children Frank, Bob, Jack, Hughie, Stuart, Meggie and baby Hal as they sail to Australia at the invitation of Paddy s wealthy land owning sister Mary, who intends him to inherit the vast estate of Drogheda in northwest NSW Even by Australian standards, it s a big farm 250,000 acres, 80 miles across at its widest point, home to over 100,000 merino sheep.The Clearys, who had been poor farmhands in NZ, fall in love with Drogheda and learn the ways of the land, the climate, the weather, the animals, pretty quickly The book is divided up into 7 sections titled Meggie 1915 1917 Ralph 1921 1928 Paddy 1929 1932 Luke 1933 1938 Fee 1938 1953 Dane 1954 1965 and Justine 1965 1969 These provide a slight focus, but the only characters who really dominate the story are Meggie, Ralph the Catholic priest who falls in love with her and Justine, Meggie s daughter by Luke.There is definitely tragedy in this book, but I never once found it depressing It is similar in its structure to Gabriel Garcia Marquez s One Hundred Years of Solitude, but completely different, and successful in a way the latter book was not for me The Thorn Birds made me care Each character is so beautifully rendered, as if they were indeed living people whose memories were captured by a light, non judgemental hand Every character evoked strong feelings in me, which changed as the characters changed Luke, for instance, I wanted to throttle and ended up pitying Meggie, in her naivete, was at times exasperating, yet she learned and I was proud of her for that then angry, for the way she set Dane above Justine Sometimes I absolutely hated Ralph and wanted to smack him at other times I felt so deeply for him and his emotional turmoil.I can t get over how well written this book is It is simply told, in an omniscient third person voice, only sometimes, when needed, delving in deeper into the hearts and minds of the main characters to reveal their thoughts and feelings The clashing perceptions people have are accurately portrayed, the poor judgements, bad decisions, mistakes all so life like, so real Inferences, connections and insights can be deduced from hints in the story, but McCullough leaves a lot for the reader to realise on their own And behind it all, like a glorious backdrop, the gorgeous landscape, so vivid and true History and politics are there also two world wars, the Depression, the Great Drought that ended when WWII ended, everything from clothing to attitudes to cars, as well as changing Australian slang, attitudes, the quirks most of it slipping in unobtrusively, at other times pivotal to the plot.That there is a plot is undeniable that it is noticeable, I doubt very much I don t like to predict stories anyway the only ones I do that to are unavoidable, like Steven Seagal movies but there was very little in this book that I could have predicted had I tried Maybe I m just out of practice, but there was no sense of an author dictating or pushing the characters towards certain goals A few things I could see coming, like Dane turning out just like his father, but even then it felt completely natural, not as though McCullough was manipulating the story.It seems funny, reading a book of extreme heat, drought, flies, fire, endless silvery grass while outside it s freezing, snowing, bleak But I was utterly transported, and the only thing that jarred my pleasure was the strangeness of seeing American spelling and a couple of changed words amidst the Australian slang Why, for instance, change nappy to diaper while leaving mum for mom As an aside, in general I really hate it when books from the UK and Australia, for instance, must undergo an Americanisation before being published in North America, whereas when books by US authors are published in Australia it s with the American spelling and all That just doesn t seem fair It seems pretty insulting to the Americans I ve talked to, actually, but also patronising to us I think, though, regardless of whose decision that was, McCullough was writing to an international audience She never intended this book to stagnate in Australia, as many works do which are too difficult to understand in other countries She doesn t talk about crutching the dags on the sheep without explaining what crutching means and what dags are, or that the big lizards are called goannas and rabbits were introduced to Australia so that it would look a little like England for the homesick settler I know all this, but it was still interesting to read about it.If you re interested in reading about Australia or just epic stories in general , this is a great book to start with It s not even out of date, things change so slowly Just picture stockmen flying helicopters around herds of cattle instead of riding, their properties are so humungous The droughts are still there, the floods, the flies, the fires, the vernacular though the Catholics have almost disappeared The religion aspect of the novel is equally fascinating, and handled diplomatically as well It is a book about ordinary people living ordinary lives, and sometimes deliberately causing themselves pain hence the reference to the thorn bird, which pierces its breast on a rose thorn as it sings, and dies. In a down reading year, an epic family saga was just what I needed to push away the reading doldrums Normally, a five star read would merit a long review depicting characters, place, time, and the author s luscious prose The Thorn Birds had all of this and was hauntingly beautiful Yet, despite the story of the Cleary family and their parish priest being a much needed tonic for me, I am omitting my long review for now That is because The Thorn Birds is our quarterly long read in the group Retro Chapter Chicks here on goodreads My fellow chicks are reading this book over the course of three months and I do not want to inadvertently give anything away here The story of Meggie and Ralph was so captivating however, that I read their saga in three days rather than months It was that good, and the bonus is that I have still have three months of group discussions to immerse myself in their story The Thorn Birds has catapulted itself to my all time favorite shelf and will be a saga that I sense myself revisiting than once 5 star read The thorn birds, Colleen McCulloughThe Thorn Birds is a 1977 best selling novel by the Australian author Colleen McCullough Set primarily on Drogheda a fictional sheep station in the Australian Outback named after Drogheda, Ireland the story focuses on the Cleary family and spans the years 1915 to 1969 The novel is the best selling book in Australian history, and has sold over 33 million copies worldwide Meghann Meggie Cleary, a four year old girl living in New Zealand in the early twentieth century, is the only daughter of Paddy, an Irish farm labourer and Fee, his harassed but aristocratic wife Meggie is a beautiful child with curly red gold hair but receives little coddling and must struggle to hold her own Her favourite brother is the eldest, Frank, a rebellious young man who is unwillingly preparing himself for the blacksmith s trade He is much shorter than his other brothers, but very strong Unlike the other Clearys, he has black hair and eyes, believed to be inherited from his Maori great great grandmother 2006 1367 791 1368 1369 1369 1371 1379 1391 Find all of my reviews at The Thorn Birds is one of those books that might be as great as I remember or it might have been a real turd However, it consistently pops up on my feed due to other friends reading it and I felt it was high time to explain my 5 Star rating and Tadiana s review of a different book added some inspiration Here s the deal This was the first book I ever stole from my mother It was right after the miniseries came out, I was like 8 years old and I sneaky read this sumbitch like nobody s business Holy inappropriateness Batman As a terrible good Catholic, I spent the remainder of my formative years reading and re reading this book, attending mass, and fantasizing the entire time that I would end up as a Meggie to our young priest, Father Ralph Rick In all actuality, Father Rick was probably interested in one of the altar boys being his Meggie I keeeeeed, I keeeeeed Now that I m a grown up, I think I would have ditched ol Father de Bricassart and made much sexytimes with Luke O Neill instead This is a book I can NEVER re read Talk about unrealistic expectations of perfection. Magn fico Y me quedo corta cort sima Tanto que he estado a punto de otorgarle mis segundas 6 estrellas del a o Hace a os vi por la tele la serie que se hizo de esta novela, pero no hay punto de comparaci n es imposible En la novela vemos y sentimos a todos sus personajes, sus miedos, sus inquietudes y deseos todo lo que aman y aborrecen Sus defectos y virtudes Sencillamente muy muy fan de esta escritora. I would give this all the stars in the sky if I could This was simply the best book I ve ever read.. This might sound strange, but I crave a book that is going to ruin me for all other novels to come And this was it Something in my greedy little reader paws, wants a book that is going to destroy me Wreak havoc upon me Do you know what I am talking about Well, maybe you don t Hmph.This story lifted my heart and made my soul come alive I felt as if the characters ingratiated themselves to such an extent in my very being, that I had sensations of them dancing upon my soul With that being said, there is something that you must know and accept before beginning this novel These events would never, could never, happen in real life Therefore, just go with it Enjoy the story Suspend belief Do whatever you need to do because once you do, you will have a reading experience unlike any you ve ever had before This is a story you will never forget It s memories will be permanently imprinted on my heart forever. So what are you waiting for Why are you still reading this review Um Important note I ve recently been informed that this author has supported and condoned the rapes that have been occurring on Pitcairn Island located in the South Pacific I cannot stand by and be silent, and I certainly cannot and will not endorse that point of view In fact, I think it is horrific If you are interested in finding out information, you can view this article that a fellow GR friend shared with me.https www.smh.com.au world pitcairn I think I read this for the first time in 4th grade I hid it in my room for a month b c this is sooo not a book for a 10 year old My father is an ex Catholic priest who left the church for my mother so when the mini series came out, the world stopped in my house for an entire week It s an epic saga about an Irish farming family who relocated to Australia to help work at an ailing aunt s ranch The book spans some 40 years of hardships they encounter The only daughter, Meggie, falls in love with a local parish priest who has ambitions of Rome and is constantly tempted by her seductions It s a tearjerker of a classic and I m not ashamed to say I love it.