Review: Bridge of Clay

Bridge of ClayBridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I read this via Bolinda Audiobooks. I thoroughly enjoyed Zusack narrating it! His voice was lovely and so Occa. It was a pleasure to sit through.


Clay: I’ll be real with you… I found Clay underwhelming. In my opinion; this book should have focused on one of the other Dunbar brothers. Clay was purposely a mystery, but then we find out he’s just… bland. In conclusion: Clay’s storyline was disappointing.

Matthew: aka the director, aka the Dad of the 5 Dunbar orphans. I loved Matthew’s insight into everything, but it also didn’t make sense that HE was telling us Clay’s story? How on earth could he get so much detail from Clay, the boy who is known for being talkative when he uses 8 words?

Michael Dunbar: the Dad who fled. The Murderer (also, listening to this I was unsure if this title was capitalised, so for the first half of this book I thought he was an actual murderer omfg). I thought I was going to hate Michael. I never fully grasped why he fled. WHY. WHY wouldn’t you want to be with your 5 boys, that you made with your now-dead wife? I’ve never experienced any of this, but to me… I feel I would cling to the family I’ve got, especially after my wife dies.

Penny Dunbar: I WANT AN ENTIRE BOOK ABOUT PENNY’S LIFE. Penelope Dunbar, Michael’s wife, was a Polish/Russian refugee. Her story and escape from 1950s Eastern Europe are amazing. I want to investigate where Zusack comes from now… If this book focused more on Penny, Michael, and Abby, I would have rated it 5 stars.

Abby Hanley: yo hey I loved this character, and I relate very much to her, and wow we have the same last name.


There are a million plots going on. There’s:

– Penny’s life story
– Michael’s life story
– Abby and Michael’s relationship
– Penny and Michael’s relationship
– “Before” Penny died
– “After” Penny died
– Clay working on a bridge with his Dad (help btw I can’t find the significance of this symbolism)
– Matthew and his wife, Claire
– The other brothers: Rory, the deadbeat, the older brother who I think was named Henry (he had no point to the story), and the youngest who I can’t remember the name of, but collected animals.
– Clay and his girlfriend


This book is SCATTERED. It is NOT chronological, so FYI if that’s going to confuse you. Characters and moments replay over again, however, told from a different perspective or context. Each chapter/section is about either the adults (Michael/Penny/Abby) or the Dunbar boys.


– motherhood
– family responsibility
– love, and outgrowing yourself or your partner
– coming-of-age
– brotherhood
– Bridges????????????????????
– family death
– abandonment


The ending was anti-climatic. The book, for me, ended when Penny died. I still felt there was so much left unknown by the end.


I LOVED this story, but purely for the adults. Not the kids.

Author: Cal's Reading Corner

HSIE teacher from Sydney, Australia.

8 thoughts on “Review: Bridge of Clay”

  1. I’ve had this sitting on my desk since it came out (I even bought the signed edition off Amazon), and I’ve tried to start it about six times and haven’t been able to get past the first chapter. It’s a disappointment to me, because “The Book Thief” is one of my top books of all times. I’m going to try again in the new year, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get through this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds a bit much, with all the different storylines going on. But I love that the author reads you the audiobook, so that sounds worth checking out!

    Liked by 1 person

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