Unusual Book – “Birdy” by William Wharton
The novel ‘Birdly’ gives the story of the survival of two small boys. The story plots around two boys, Al and Birdly, who have maintained a strong friendship that started way back in high school (Wharton, 44). The two boys have been brought up at a time when the Second World War was just about to begin. They lived in the Philadelphia suburb. Al and Birdly are not entirely the same. For instance, Al seemed to take more interest in girls, unlike Birdly, who took a keen interest in pigeons and canaries (Wharton, 44). In fact, Birdly had the dream of once ever being able to fly like a bird. It had become an obsession for him that he would do anything to make it work (Wharton, 44). From the book, one can see him trying to make himself suits that had feathers with the hope of making his dream come true somehow.
Al, on the other hand, was all the big and aggressive, traits he had gained from the environment he lived in (Wharton, 44). The environment was rough and un-conducive for soft natured people. Al and Birdly constantly had the thoughts of running away to a safe place, a place they could find something worthwhile to do. In no time, the two boys decide to join the army (Wharton, 44). It was while working with the army that the two go through a number of experiences that shape their lives in a different way. They experience a lot of stress and its so serious that Birdly shifts into a permanent state of mental illness. Birdly, on the other hand, becomes frustrated with life and disregards the human way of living. He, in fact, begins acting and behaving birdlike. Efforts are made including intensive treatment in an aim to bring Birdly out of his shell and get him to act normal (Wharton, 44). The psychiatrists even try to get Al to talk to Birdly with the hope that his voice was doing to help him recover from the trance (Wharton, 44). With time, both boys get better and recounted their experiences with the war and how it has changed them
Wharton, William. Birdy. New York: Avon Books, 1978. Print. Page 44