Saturday, April 17, 2010

54 - Winging It; Jenny Gardiner
















Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me; Jenny Gardiner
 
About the same time the author and her husband were beginning a family, Graycie, arrived from Zaire. It was the 80's and the African Gray parrot was a gift to the family from the author's brother-in-law.  Little did the couple know, that although Grays are known to be great talkers, not ALL are friendly birds, and many of them outlive their owners.  The author shares, in her brutally honest memoir, the many many hazards of parrot ownership.  From constantly cleaning up sticky bird poop with feathers attached, while trying to avoid getting pecked on by a bird with a killer beak, owning a bird like Graycie will make you think twice about acquiring such a pet.

Seriously, this book was not only a brutally, honest story about Graycie, the African gray parrot, it was a  laugh-out- loud funny and touching memoir as well. Graycie can imitate the smoke detector, sing, yell at the family dog, sneeze and burp like humans and perform a wide variety of other, welcome and not-so-welcomed behaviors. (You have to read the book to believe them). 

The author encourages prospective parrot owners to do their homework first. If you are still convinced an African Grey is the pet for you, then consider adopting one from a parrot rescue organizations in this country. There are many parrots desperate for loving homes, and many are friendlier than Graycie as well.

In my opinion, this memoir should have been called: What you Need to Know Before You Buy An African Gray Parrot on Impulse.

You can take a look at Graycie  HERE and listen to the author a bit as well. RECOMMENDED - 4/5 stars
(Book was received free of charge for review)

18 comments:

  1. I love pet memoirs and enjoyed reading Marley and Me....I think I will like this one too, thanks for the review. Have you read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein...it is a very nice book, a tad melodramatic but very touching.

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  2. I'm reading this one now, and it is pretty dang funny!

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  3. Vaishnavi,

    I liked both: The Art of Racing in the Rain and Marley and Me very much. I pretty much enjoy most stories about animals.

    Steph...Can't wait to read your thoughts on this one; enjoy!

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  4. Winging It sounds like quite an amusing book.

    Sometimes I see a lady with a parrot perched on her shoulder taking a walk at the same time that I take my dog for a walk--now I wonder if that bird is an African Gray parrot. How amazing that these birds can live for 80 years!

    Terrific review, Diane!

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  5. This definitely looks like something I would love. I'm adding it to my wish list right now!

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  6. Me too, me too! It's goin' on my list.

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  7. Does sound like a fun read. As a parrot owner, probably much I can identify with. I do not own an African Grey, though. They are very smart birds.

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  8. I don't think that I ever read a memoir, but I want to. I just don't know where to start:)

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  9. hi! thank you SO much for taking the time to read Winging it! I'm really thrilled that you enjoyed it!

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  10. I've gotten to know the author a little on Twitter, so I'm really looking forward to reading this book!

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  11. I admit the premise of this book didn't grab my attention, but the reviews of it certainly have. It sounds fun!

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  12. My husband is the most laid-back, people- and animal-loving person you could ever meet, yet he despises parrots. Someone he used to know owned one and it always thought of my hubby's ear as a snack and chowed down accordingly. I tease him about it whenever we see one but he doesn't really laugh or take it gracefully. That probably means I should leave him alone, doesn't it?

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  13. I do think parrots are not pets for the faint-hearted .. they live a long time. Did you read "Alex & Me" about the research with an African Grey that did amazing research in language? I bet these would be good companion reads.

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  14. I joke that Alex the parrot would be the student who sits in the front of the class and raises his hand to answer all the questions while Graycie would be the one sneaking out to steal a smoke in the bathroom ;-)

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  15. Susan...that is unbelievable see someone walking with a parrot on their shoulder..LOL

    Alyce, Lynne, and Kathy....enjoy this one, it is fun, but I kept saying "better the author than me".

    Jenny....Thanks for commenting; I really liked your book.

    C.B...I know a few parrot owners but no AFrican Grays. I bet your bird is sweet.

    Jenners...I loved the audio version of Alex and Me so much!

    Jen...Your poor husband. It's funny how some critters seem to dislike certain people.

    P.BookLover...I love memoirs and there are so many good ones out there. I'm not sure what your area of interest would be? I loved Making the Rounds With Oscar as well.

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  16. I have read a lot of bird memoirs in the last little bit, and I do really enjoy them. I think this book sounds really awesome and will be looking for it. I also think you might like Flyaway, which is a memoir about a wild bird rehabber. It was a really good read. Great review, Diane!

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  17. My mom is a bird lover and I think she would really enjoy this one. Thanks for the review!

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  18. How did I not know this book existed? I *need* this in my life (mostly to convince me that I need to stick with my cockatiels and NOT get a big bird...). Thanks so much!

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