- Published: 1979
- Number of pages: 692 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 1.22 MB
- Authors: Colleen McCullough
One of the most beloved novels of all time, The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough’s sweeping family saga of dreams, titanic struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian Outback, returns to enthrall a new generation.
Review “A perfect Read…The kind of book the world blockbuster was made”–“Boston Globe”A heart-rending epic…truly marvelous”–“Chicago Tribune”Beautiful…compelling entertaiment–
Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:
⭐ It’s readable. I remember when it was first published and it was all the rage. When I read it then, it seemed a lot deeper than it is.People making mistakes with their eyes wide open then miserable about the results. It’s not a great romance and most of it is pretty predictable with predictable results.Once the big lust between Meggie and Ralph is consummated, the story bogs down. I had to push to make myself finish reading it. Dane and Justine just weren’t interesting enough to keep the story going. Even taking them away from the isolation of the homestead didn’t add enough to keep them interesting. Its like McCullough spent all her energy on the big romance and didn’t have anything left or lost interest in her own story once Ralph and Meggie had their fling.Still, it isn’t all bad. I just now scratch my head and wonder what all the fuss was about at the time.
⭐ I love this book. I originally bought it at a used book store for 10 cents because it was in the “must sell romantic novels” bin. My first copy was a cheesy paper back with meggie melting in the arms of ralph. I bought it because an old woman working at the book store said the love story was really “hot” (Exact words lol) and i wanted a quick read at the beach. The book was so good that i took it everywhere with me and it was destroyed by me reading in it the ocean, pool or bathtub. This book is so, so much more then the romance between meggie and ralph. it is beautifully written and there is so much depth in each character. the romantic aspect is an added layer but the story as a whole is wonderful. i read an interview the author gave about the book and it will give you a completely different perspective. i had to get the hardback with the cover of drogheda because it was so much more fitting for the story.
⭐ I first read this book when I was in my 40’s and am now in my 70’s. I recently had the opportunity to go to Australia for the first time and decided it was time for a re-read. Amazing how our opinions change over time. I still enjoyed the book very much but some of the characters really annoyed me. I thought Fee was not a very good mother – her non-emotional involvement with her children was distressing. Justine was more unlikeable than I remembered – her treatment of long-suffering Rainier was hard to read and I kept wishing he had given up on her. As for Meggie and Ralph, I found that I am still a romantic at heart so I kept pulling for them. On a positive note, I thought the author’s description of Australia was great and I really got a kick out of going to or seeing places during my travel that had been mentioned in the book. Overall, I highly recommend the book to first time readers.
⭐ I read Thorn Birds in 1977 and liked it. But then my current book club selected it, and I read it again. I had forgotten the entire story. A young woman whose Irish family inherited a ranch in the Outback falls in love with a priest who has loved her since she was 10, but he continually leaves her to continue his priesthood, his first love and ambition. The priesthood requires him to remain celibate. She expects him to stay and he leaves her continually to return to his post, finally to Rome as an archbishop. She marries someone else and wants children. She resents Ralph, the priest, and wants his children. The story evolves over many years. The author’s description of Australia is very vivid, through droughts and floods, sheep raising and kangaroos. You feel like you are there. The book is a quick read even though there are many pages. The author holds your attention throughout the story. It could have been written today, with some modern improvements. Highly recommended.
⭐ ** Possible minor spoilers ahead**This is a confusing book to review. I might just have to chalk this one up to a guilty pleasure kind of read, as it works on par the level of a soap opera with all the melodrama stirred up, emotions, tensions and familial tragedies that occur.This seems like a book that doesn’t know what it wants to focus on. Portions of this book I felt more invested in than others. I liked how the book examines Ralph’s conflicted nature between love and his role with being a priest and his experiences with the Cleary family, but then much of this book ventures off into areas that I felt so indifferent too, especially in the final parts (Meggie’s spite, Luke, Justine, etc.) I also liked meeting the member of the Cleary family in the opening two parts and getting a little of the family history and their way of life.What I do like about this novel is the Australian backdrop and descriptions of these settings McCullough takes the time to make sure to give the time and place much attention to detail and I think in a larger sense this gives the background of the novel a more realistic and rich feel. I also enjoyed McCullough’s ability to construct this with the feel of the family saga over generations.That being said, I mostly enjoyed about the first three hundred or so pages, but said enjoyment began to wane as characters began to grate on my nerves and some of the ridiculousness of the plot infiltrated to the point of no return. I think everything after this point sort of took a big nosedive.Also, some of the characters started to annoy the heck out of me. The second half of the book seems like it just focuses on Meggie and her bitter, sad existence (cry me a river) and her shaking her fists at the world and God as well as focus on her narcissistic, selfish, annoying daughter, Justine. It completely shifts from one of the main crux of the conflict it sets up and instead heads off into focus on menial, minor characters or subplots that aren’t as interesting.Additionally, something irked me about how much focus there was on a character’s appearance. Is it really necessary to give a rundown of every thought via interior monologue going through a character’s head about another character’s physical attributes? There was too much unnecessary description about a character’s physique that it became belabored.The latter portions of the book, as described prior, move away from one of the central conflicts and into other areas, and this is where the book really loses steam. I had to put down the book several times because my interested lessened with each page. Not only that, but with each passing page Meggie becomes less sympathetic and her story more a chore to the point where the reader is like “Okay, get on with it.”It get the epic feel of The Thorn Birds as a family saga and the lovely descriptions of Australia, but there are just too many things going on for little payoff: story lines or characters who do not engage interest for the long haul or are not fully explored enough to engage the reader, or interesting plots or characters that are left by the wayside altogether.
⭐ The book is a long novel taking place in New Zealand and Australia, mostly, from the years 1915 to 1969. It is about the hard-working English family of Paddy Cleary, who marries Fiona Armstrong, and they have several rambunctious children who run wild all over the territory like there’s no tomorrow. They raise and shear sheep as their principal occupation in the harsh, rugged outback of NW Australia. Readers meet Mary Carson, the family matriarch; Meggie Cleary, their only daughter; Father Ralph de Bricassart, their benefactor; Paddy Cleary, the dad and breadwinner; Luke O’Neill, a lonesome drifter; Fiona Armstrong Cleary, Paddy’s determined wife; and Dane and Justine O’Neill, Meggie’s offspring. Watch three incredible generations of the Cleary family in surround-sound, technicolor and panorama as they struggle to settle the land and make an honest, decent living. Fair warning: some members of the clan may get religion along the way to salvation. You wonder if there is a sequel to the story. If there ever were a sequel, an excerpt might read something like this: Aunt Meggie had invited a family of distant relatives from New Zealand to come live with her, since her own children had moved away some time ago. She asked one of her favorites, the little one they called ‘Sugar Magnolia’ how she planned to get to school on her very first day, since it was located a good five miles away, in the nearest town. “Rodney can hitch a horse up to the covered-wagon,” she replied, plainly and calmly. “We’ll all climb aboard and ride to school in relative luxury and comfort.” “He’s driving us to Drogheda in the wagon?” inquired her skeptical brother, Frank, incredulously, which reminded their sentimental Aunt of a story from a long time ago: A wise, weathered older man harnessed his plow-mule to the wagon one day, wanting to take a load of fresh produce to market, but the mule would not budge an inch. He knew it would not do any good to beat the mule with a whip or a stick, because it was a stubborn animal. So, he hitched up the horse instead. He simply gave the horse a carrot, and the horse gladly moved the wagon-load of produce to market without any delay or difficulty whatsoever. It happens once in a while. You have to ask yourself: “Am I the horse or the mule in the story?”
⭐ I was 11 years old in 1983, when the sweeping epic “The Thorn Birds” was made into a mini-series. I was too young to watch it, but I knew it was out there. Everyone was talking about it – Richard Chamberlain was too much of a heartthrob for me to miss it completely. It took me over 30 years, but I have finally read the book by Colleen McCullough, and it was well worth the wait. The book spans 54 years in the life of an Australian family, the Clearys, focusing on the story of daughter Meggie, who is 4 years old at the beginning of the book. The reader soon meets Father Ralph de Bricassart, an ambitious, handsome priest who is 24 years Meggie’s senior. Then begins an unlikely love story that spans over half a decade of love and pain. McCullough’s characters come alive in the book. As a reader, I quickly became invested in them, especially Meggie. Her young naïve way of seeing the world contrasted nicely with Father Ralph’s world weary perspective. By the time she was born he had seen and done too much; she was a light to him, fresh air after suffocating. Until she started to grow up. As she blossomed into a young lady, his pure love for her was challenged; one of the central struggles in the book is the war between Father Ralph’s manhood and his priesthood. Readers can plot the passage of time through the well-developed growth and changing of the characters; in contrast, the land that calls to them all, the station of Drogheda in Australia, barely changes. McCullough’s vivid descriptions evoke the beauty and the cycle of the land: from plenty to drought and back again. This dependable background allows the characters to change and develop, creating a beautiful storyline.
⭐ I met a woman whose life seemed to run parallel to mine, only several decades apart. Our friendship grew quickly into something special for both of us while she grieved a terrible loss very few could understand. I understood because each of my miscarriages brought a familiar ache even though mine had been years before. She understood as I grieved the slow loss of my mother’s friendship to Alzheimer’s. Because her family had managed an elders home. When my dear friend shared that she would be returning to Australia, I knew I needed to prepare myself for her absence. I thought of ways I might adjust to weeks without our coffee mornings and afternoons at the park with her beautiful son. Then to understand her news from the far away continent would be to read The Thornbitds as I had with mom. When she talked of returning to Australia, I knew the obvious next step was to read the book again . I had forgotten so much about Australia, the beautifully written romances and the horrors of nature in Australias definition of nature. As I re-read this beautiful book I saw reality replayed while I watched Australia on fire in the news.
⭐ I thought about reading this for years but long epic novels is not my first choice in reading material. I knew the story because I watched the mini series. As usual the book was so much better. The descriptions are wonderful. She is a very talented author. Mostly the locations were almost another characters, Drogheda and Rome and even New Zealand for sure.Most of the characters were colorful and well developed but I would have loved to see alternative stories for some of them.I will have to try other books by C M to see if her characters and settings are always so special.
⭐ This was written long before today’s cliché filled films and novels that most of the writers don’t realize where the origin of the act or story came from due to its overuse. I was finally filled with a sudden push to open the flap and read when mrs. McCullough just recently died. I’ll warn to you it is a longer read not to be finished in a night. People who know what love is and have matured to the point of having a proper family( husband,kids, career things) paying bills, owning a home and having dealt with those hardships will enjoy reading this one most to finish it. If you purchase this know there are many adaptations one including a fabulous 80s miniseries.
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