Apr 12, 2010

Flyaway

How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found her Wings
by Suzie Gilbert

It's entirely thanks to Bookfool that I discovered this book. A few days after reading her review and noting that I'd want to read it someday, I was at the library browsing and just happened to look it up in the catalog. It was on the shelf! So I checked it out right away, and from page one knew I'd love it: this is my kind of book!

Flyaway is about a mother of two who starts taking in wild birds that need to recuperate before being released. At least, that's her original plan. But as more people in the bird-loving and wildlife-rescue circles find out about her flight cages and willingness to help, she finds herself taking on more and more birds, including  ones with more serious problems and injuries. Among the struggles to help wounded birds take flight again (learning as she goes what kind of treatment and care the many different species need), the author reveals her struggles to balance family life with her (unpaid) work, her relationship with nearby veterinarians, her disagreements and commiserations with other rehabbers, and the chaos somethings thrown into things by her two parrots. There are exquisite illustrations drawn by artist Laura Westlake, and the descriptive writing used to describe the many different birds, their individuality and beauty is just wonderful. Of course some parts are sad, lots of birds die, there are callous people who intentionally harm them, others who don't think time and effort should be spent healing a common sparrow, etc. It just about breaks your heart to read about how the author agonized over each little feathered life she couldn't save, and tried to find the boundaries that would allow her to contine doing what she loved without burning out or neglecting her family. There were always far too many birds in need than people available to care for them.

I really enjoyed this book. I learned so many things about birds, and admire the author immensely for what she does for them.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 340 pages, 2009

More opinions at:
Raging Bibliomania
the stay at home bookworm
Red and the Peanut

8 comments:

Cathy said...

As a bird lover in the middle of a large metro area who's had anything from tiny hummingbirds all the way to great-horned owls and Cooper's hawks visit (and whose neighborhood has a horrible feral cat problem), I'd probably love this book. As long as I kept a box of Kleenex at hand. Thanks for the review!

bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a wonderful book and a wonderful woman.

Eva said...

This sounds marvelous! And that cover is SO beautiful.

Jeane said...

Cathy- My mother used to have hummingbird feeders. And I never saw a hawk up close until i lived in San francisco- they would come after the pigeons! I think you'd really like this book, even with the tearjerkers.

Bermudaonion- It is! Highly recommended!

Eva- It is beautiful, isn't it? The copy I borrowed from the library actually had a different cover, picturing a woman (the author, I assume) with a crow perched on her hand. This cover features art from inside the book; I liked it better.

carolsnotebook said...

Sounds like a very touching story. I love birds, well except for at 6 in the morning.

Jeane said...

I love the sound of birdsong in the morning. But nobody has chickens nearby. I think a rooster would drive me nuts.

Bookfool said...

Thank you for drawing my attention to your post, Jeane! I totally missed it and I'm so glad you let me know about your wonderful review. I'm glad you enjoyed the book as much as I did! I love the paperback cover with the drawing best, too. The other cover is pretty and appealing, but this one is just breathtaking. I loved the illustrations.

Jeane said...

I agree- the drawings were so beautiful. I was feeling kind of silly to point out my post to you, but wanted to share in the admiration of this book!:)