I have to be blunt here. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald is not my cup of tea in the slightest. To say it won the Costa Book of the Year and to be given widespread praise and five-star reviews by many including being labelled as a ‘soaring triumph’ by the Telegraph, I expected something better, something much much better.
To say that I didn’t rate it highly is something of an understatement. Yes, there is some pretty prose on the pages, but even some of this seems rather forced. As if she’s trying to sound much more creative with words than she is.
Her analysis of TH White’s experience of his attempt at training his goshawk is really quite odd, and seems out of place, like a dissertation of White randomly intermixed in her memoir. I can’t criticize her method of dealing with her grief after the death of her father, everyone has their own way of dealing with grief. But even knowing this I still can’t say that I enjoyed the book, not even a little bit. I would have put it down, but I felt like it could have been one of those books which you only realize is good when you get to the very end. It wasn’t.
It was boring, trying to hard to sound intelligent (which I have no doubt that she is), and honestly I found the book irritating.
Again to say that it was apparently a ‘clear winner’ for the Costa Book of the Year award, I was immensely disappointed.
An easily forgotten read.