The Thorn Birds is a true epic. The detail is incredible. You could almost feel the heat, dryness, and wind sweep through Drogheda, the sheep station in Australia, while reading it. However, my favorite part of the book is the characterization. I think it’s a true testament to the writing that at different points of the book I truly loathed the main characters to turn right around 20 pages later and I love them again. They all have major faults yet I could relate to their mistakes and successes. Interestingly enough, the only character I couldn’t relate to, and have no true feelings for, is Dane. He is almost too perfect and his storyline didn’t capture me like Meggie’s, Fee’s, Ralph’s, Paddy’s, Frank’s, and Justine’s.
The Cleary’s story is truly wonderful and the story of Australia during the early to mid 20th century is fascinating. Additionally, the role Catholicism plays a gigantic role in plot along with gender differences make this book more dynamic. The three Cleary women are the highlight of the book for me and their relationships with the men in their life took on a life of their own.
Overall, I LOVED this book. Due to the mini-series, which came out in 1983, many girls were named after Meggie, including myself. However, I’m really glad I waited to this stage in my life to read The Thorn Birds because I don’t think I would have understood the magnitude if I had read this earlier in my life.
Highly recommended but be ready for an emotional rollercoaster. This is not light reading.