Love is a Rebel­lious Bird

Elayne Kas­son 

January 1, 2013

This tale of a six­ty-year love affair exam­ines the age-old ques­tion of why we love the peo­ple we do. A beau­ti­ful, charis­mat­ic and wild­ly suc­cess­ful man is adored by a woman. Even as chil­dren grow­ing up togeth­er in Chicago’s Jew­ish north side neigh­bor­hoods, attend­ing Jew­ish youth groups and sum­mer camps, he held the pow­er. Nev­er mar­ried to each oth­er, but bound through­out their lives by tragedy and friend­ship, Elliot defined the terms of their rela­tion­ship, until final­ly, in old age, the pow­er shifts. Look­ing at the roles of beau­ty, insan­i­ty, mag­ic, deceit, con­so­la­tion, sen­so­ry ful­fill­ment, and, final­ly, being seen, Judith Sher­man explores why she loved Elliot Pine — a rela­tion­ship that impinged on every oth­er in her life. In old age, after mar­riages to oth­ers, chil­dren, moves to oppo­site coasts, Judith reflects on how the pat­tern estab­lished in sixth grade was one that per­sist­ed their whole lives: a rela­tion­ship that was a cock­tail mix of rival­ry and loy­al­ty — shak­en with a strong dose of resent­ment and passion.

Discussion Questions

A touch­ing illus­tra­tion of a six­ty-year rela­tion­ship between a girl and boy from ear­ly child­hood to old age. Over time there is a pow­er shift from one to anoth­er as their lives inter­sect. From first love to last love, Love Is a Rebel­lious Bird by Elayne Klas­son explores the man­ner in which some­one spe­cial always holds a place in our heart. This book illus­trates that our con­nec­tions help us deal with the obsta­cles we all encounter. Along the way the main char­ac­ters, Judith and Eliot, engage in mak­ing us ques­tion the lengths one might go to retain that bond. This work was cho­sen as its mes­sage will res­onate with read­ers who may be fac­ing chal­leng­ing life deci­sions now; real­iz­ing we will all expe­ri­ence the vicis­si­tudes of life soon­er or lat­er. This poignant nov­el address­es the nature of love and com­mit­ment (through a Jew­ish lens) and is a remark­able depic­tion of such.