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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite ever book.
Note that my title says 'MY favourite ever book'; not the best ever book. I was given this by an aunt of mine when I was sick in Ireland with pneumonia, when I was 14. Never since has a book moved me as much inasmuch as the story is incredible.

From a catholic background it was easy to identify with all the religious stuff in the book but don't let that put you...
Published on 12 May 2010 by C. Madden

versus
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Australian lovestory
I dont know if I fell in love more with the characters or the vivid descriptions of the Australian outback in this compelling read. A charming and moving story following the Cleary family as they move through life.
The Catholic church and its mystical hold over the whole community and indeed its influence over the matriach Mary Carson is formiddable and is played...
Published on 6 Jan. 2000


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite ever book., 12 May 2010
By 
C. Madden "maddca" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (VMC) (Paperback)
Note that my title says 'MY favourite ever book'; not the best ever book. I was given this by an aunt of mine when I was sick in Ireland with pneumonia, when I was 14. Never since has a book moved me as much inasmuch as the story is incredible.

From a catholic background it was easy to identify with all the religious stuff in the book but don't let that put you off. It's obvious I think that the author is a bit anti-catholic; she would never have dared to write such a story otherwise.

It's a sprawling family saga set in all corners of the globe, beginning in the 1920s and ending in the 60s/70s. There are compelling realtionships, love stories, class divides, wonderful characterisations (PLEASE ignore the TV series; it does it no justice whatsover and I fear that is what induced the negative reviews). This author hasn't written anything of this standard since and I doubt I will ever read anything of this standard by anyone else ever again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those books you must read before you die, 12 April 2010
By 
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (VMC) (Paperback)
I have put off reading the thorns birds for so long it just sat on my shelf. The first time I tried to read the thorn birds, I felt the description of the land became too much for me to handle, please do not be put off by this as the plot is a quick moving one. The second time I tried to read it and it was so enjoyable and in 5 days finished it. Don't be fooled by the 573 pages. It is a very long book, but it was amazing. This is a family saga and not just about meggie and ralph, you get to here of her brothers, parents, foolish husband Luke and her aunt (who I loved hating in the novel); it is a wonderfully moving story of love, loss, land and most importantly pride. The best part I loved about the novel is the way priests were portrayed, they were shown that priests were man first, then priest therefore they will fall to the temptations of the flesh. Most books would have portrayed priests to be "holier than thou" but in The Thorn Birds, they are shown to be human who are tempted but try as hard as possible to get back on the wagon when they fall into temptation. It is a beautiful book and I recommend it to all.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite brilliant!, 31 May 2000
By A Customer
It isn't often that I read a book and find myself lost for words afterwards. Somehow, Colleen McCullough draws you inside the story, so you don't just read it, YOU LIVE IT!
This is a not a book to be parted with once it has been read, but instead it is one that you are likely to put away and read again and again. An absolute must for every bookshelf! QUITE BRILLIANT!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Australian lovestory, 6 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (Paperback)
I dont know if I fell in love more with the characters or the vivid descriptions of the Australian outback in this compelling read. A charming and moving story following the Cleary family as they move through life.
The Catholic church and its mystical hold over the whole community and indeed its influence over the matriach Mary Carson is formiddable and is played out time and time again as the story progresses.
I adore this book and had to purchase another copy as my original has been read so much it had fallen apart !!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a favourite, 20 July 2014
By 
Kat (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (VMC) (Paperback)
I seem to be on something of a re-reading binge lately, revisiting books that I loved as a teenager. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I have a sneaking suspicion that after a string of almost-great books, I need to read a book I know I've loved in the past, despite the fact that it scares me to do it.

The Thorns Birds is probably the first historical fiction that I ever read. I remember it was in one of my grandmother's Readers Digest condensed editions - she had shelves full of them, the brown leather covers with the gold lettering and I devoured them all - historical fiction, crime fiction, legal fiction, repeatedly. I've forgotten many of those books now, but there are still a few that really stand out in my memory, and The Thorn Birds is one of them.

This is one of those epic family sagas - there's birth and death, marriage and affairs, family relationships are strained, broken and bridged, unobtainable love, passion and tears, and once again I loved every moment of it.

One thing that really stood out for me as a difference between reading now and reading as a teenager is that this time around I could really understand how the characters minds worked. When I read this more than ten years ago, I really though that Fee was a complete and utter heartless bitch - but this time around it all made far more sense and I can now appreciate why her character was written in such a stoic, almost unfeeling manner. And some of the parts I skimmed over as a teenager I now found incredibly interesting and relevant to the story.

As with any family saga there's a large cast of characters, but the main focus is definitely Meggie - growing up in a family full of shy, hard-working farmers and falling in love with a man she cannot have, she is really one of those memorable characters that feel incredibly real and alive.

But along with the actual plot, it's the world that Ms. McCullogh builds, the stark beauty of the station and the Australian outback, the fires, floods and backbreaking work of the farmers, tropical Queensland, the rail journeys and the contrast of 1960's Sydney that really struck home for me - it's a landscape that I know and it is beautifully told. For a native Australian that has done quite a bit of travelling in my own country, it really rang true, and made me more than a little homesick.

The Thorn Birds is touted as modern classic, and it fully deserves that tag - it has all the hallmarks of a true epic - flawed, complicated characters, a plot that is full of hope, love, tragedy and controversy and although the book is fictional, the setting is vivid and real.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gives the story away of this great book, 15 July 2011
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (VMC) (Paperback)
This is a great book.I have read it 2 or three times.I bought this copy for my daughter to read and just as well that I read the preview by Maeve Binchy because she gives the whole story away in her review.A great book but don't read the review
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colleen McCullough's amazing epic - The Thorn Birds, 10 Dec. 2010
By 
Susan (Brighton, Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (VMC) (Paperback)
This book may be over 30 years old, but it still grabs me like it did the first time I read it as a teenager. I remember the first time I read it, I couldn't put it down.
It tells the story of the Cleary family and their life on their aunt's homestead, Drogheda, in Australia and follows Meggie's life from early childhood
to old age and her passion for Father Ralph. This book seems to bridge the generations as now my Mother and Daughter love it just as much as I do.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!, 7 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (Paperback)
I first read this book ten years ago, and since then I've reread it twice. The first time I read it, I thought it was the most amazing book ever. I cancelled everything just so I could sit and read undisturbed. I felt lost when I finished it. The second and third times I read it, I guess I recognized that the writing was a little wooden and melodramatic. But hey, who cares? It's still an experience to read it. I ususally hate big rambling sagas, but this is fantastic storytelling, and demands to be read quickly and compulsively. Incidentally, the last time I read it, i was actually living in Australia, and I found that it really captured the look and feel of the New South Wales bush. I'm sure my dog-eared edition will be read many more times - I only wish that I could read it for the first time again!
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have ever read............, 26 Jan. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Thorn Birds (Paperback)
This is a stunning book with a gripping story.The central characters are Megan,and Father Ralph de Bricasart.Megan emigrates at the age of ten with her family to live on Aunt Marys sheep station in the outback.Father Ralph guides Megan through some of the traumas and disasters in her family and becomes a very close friend.Megan falls in love with the priest....but wicked and jealous Aunt Mary writes a will that gives Father Ralph a choice that he has to live with for the rest of his life.........
The Thorn Birds is a truly wonderfull and beautifully written story.It is written with great empathy for the central characters and spans through the years to end with Megans daughter Justine.It is a book that one cannot put down and a delightfull joy to read.....I recomend this book highly and have never found a story so compelling as The Thorn Birds since.......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE THORN BIRDS., 11 Nov. 2014
Still an enjoyable enough read but not nearly as good as I remember it.

A truly epic story that takes us from nineteen fifteen through until the end of World War II, The Thorn Birds is probably the greatest love story that never really was, Meggie and Ralph modern day star-crossed lovers.

Gushingly soppy for someone not renowned for their love of romance stories? Maybe so but I was only fourteen/fifteen at the time and Father Ralph de Bricassart was my first literary crush. Re-reading the book for perhaps the third time since then I felt this to be a sickly quasi-romance, Ralph, far from a dashing cleric who fate/the church had kept from his true love, a pompous man (his one true love actually being himself) who it felt at times almost groomed the young Meggie if not for his sexual gratification than to boost his own ego.

Much more than the story of Meggie and Ralph, the Thorn Birds is also a rich family saga that lays bare the life of the Cleary family over three generations. The depth of the characters combined with a vivid sense of time and place the thing that makes this such a timeless classic.

OK, so its not perfect - some aspects of the story are far more entertaining than others, some of it is repetitive, the author going out of her way to emphasis certain points that really don't need it. And there were certain things too incredulous to be believed (Meggie, raised on a farmstead, having not the vaguest notion of 'the birds and bees'? A Catholic priest explaining menstruation to her?) - but it is hugely compelling. Stu's death by boar one of the funniest death scenes in literature ever (or is that just my perverse sense of humour?)

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper.
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The Thorn Birds (Troubadour Books)
The Thorn Birds (Troubadour Books) by Colleen McCullough (Paperback - 1 Feb. 1991)
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