I love a good story. And last week, the author of one of my favourite stories passed away. That author is Colleen McCullough and the story is The Thorn Birds.
Now I realize few my age are familiar with this novel, that was published in 1977 and became a miniseries in 1983. But The Thorn Birds has always held a special place in my heart; it was where my mom first heard the name Justine.
I understand not everyone has this special connection, so I will attempt to inspire you all to embark on this journey. I offer my reasons why everyone should tackle The Thorn Birds: a 692 page book and a 467 minute long miniseries. It’s the perfect story for any fangirl who is a romantic at heart. Let me tell you why with: A Fangirl’s Guide to The Thornbirds.
1. 8 hours and 60 years!
What I love most about Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings is the length. We had 7 books to become attached to Harry and his friends and I can spend 9 hours any day immersed in the world of Middle Earth (plus another 8 with The Hobbit). The same thing can be said about The Thorn Birds.
This book tells the 60 year story of Meggie Cleary, from when she’s a young girl with so many questions to an old woman watching her own children struggle with many of the same things she did. You become enthralled with her life – growing up on the farm, her first love, her wedding, and birth of her children. Not to mention her struggles over the man she can never have.
2. “Love Unattainable, Forbidden Forever.”
The core story of The Thornbirds is the love affair between Ralph and Meggie. He’s the Catholic Priest she can never have but she loves him, from the first time she lays eyes on him until the end. This love story is as epic as they come. Ralph is honorable and strong while Meggie is young and naive and all you want is for them to get together. *Spoilers* The third episode on the beach is the best part of the entire series. They definitely have a spot on my top OTPs list.
The Thorn Birds takes place in Australia, largely on a sheep farm and later in the sugar cane fields of New South Wales. While those facts alone are not very exciting, I mention them because both involve a number of hard working, sweaty and often shirtless men. There’s one scene in particular with a competition to see who can shear the most sheep; it’s pretty sexy.
4. Ralph de Bricassart ♥
Oh Ralph ♥. As Meggie is swooning for this Priest so am I. What a hunk! It’s perfect fangirl-fashion to fall for middle-aged men, right? Just ask any of us about David Tennant or Benedict Cumberbatch, amongst others. Just check out our Tumblr pages for an idea. Richard Chamberlain was well into his 40’s when he filmed this miniseries but he is still a heartthrob. While I’m closer to Meggie’s age, I can completely understand her infatuation. There isn’t a single person I know who has seen The Thorn Birds and didn’t end up having a crush on Father Ralph.