Frightful's Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Series: Mountain #3
Also in this series: My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain
Published by Puffin on May 21st 2001
Genres: Adventure, Middle Grade, Young Adult
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Can Frightful survive alone?
Sam Gribley has been told that it is illegal to harbor an endangered bird, so when his beloved falcon, Frightful, comes home, he has to let her go. But Frightful doesn’t know how to live alone in the wild. She can’t feed herself, mate, brood chicks, or migrate. Frightful struggles to survive and learns to enjoy her new freedom. But she feels a bond with Sam that can never be broken, and more than anything else, she wants to return to him.
The sequel to My Side of the Mountain and On the Far Side of the Mountain from Newbery Medal-winning author Jean Craighead George.
The writing style changes a little in this book because it’s told mostly from the point of view of a bird, so thoughts are short and things kind of just happen with very little thought in general. But it’s really cool because it seems like that’s just how a bird would think. Honestly I never thought I’d read something from a bird’s POV before, at least not something this realistic. It’s quite interesting.
It’s kind of slow in some parts and there’s a lot of extra stuff that a bird would probably care about more than I would (weather patterns, etc.) but there were a lot of really neat themes in this book, mostly dealing with relationships. The whole book is Frightful’s struggle between being a normal wild peregrine and being Sam’s, from the beginning to the very end. But the compromise is beautiful.
There was also some experimentation in the relationships between Frightful and her mates. It seems that birds don’t feel love like we do. Haha it’s not really a surprise. But it was kind of touching to see her relationship with her kids, both adopted and natural. She wasn’t raised to know how to be a mother, so she had to kind of go with her instinct on a lot of it and she made some mistakes but it was really satisfying to see her get the hang of it and raise beautiful children.
One of the concepts that is viewed differently by birds is death. There are a few instances in this book where birds die and if they were people, it would have been a BIG DEAL (they were kind of important) but to a bird, it wasn’t such a big deal. It was simply ‘he had died.’ Or something similar. Death is pretty much assumed if a bird goes missing for a period of time. See, one of the interesting things is that birds’ emotions are intense but fleeting. They last seconds, or perhaps minutes. Birds don’t mourn. But thankfully, if a bird doesn’t have time to mourn, neither do I, and it made the deaths easier to handle.
Good vs. Bad
Less than perfect:
This was a beautiful ending to the series. The fact that it was written from a bird’s POV was really interesting and though the book was long, it wasn’t boring. The themes in this book- mostly relating to relationships- were well-developed and especially interesting coming from a bird’s POV. As usual the characters and setting were great. The ending was appropriate if not the MOST satisfying. Would I read more by this author? Yes. Would I recommend this? Yes.