- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (March 3, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061563129
- ISBN-13: 978-0061563126
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,628,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Flyaway: How A Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings Hardcover – March 3, 2009
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“Charms, delights, and educates while providing a fascinating tale of love and devotion to the feathered creatures that share our increasingly crowded world.” (Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me)
“Unique and engaging . . . [Gilbert] shows reveals in elegant prose how every creature has value, and how a voice for one is voice for all.” (Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds)
“Fascinating . . . . A testament to the challenges we all face when we love another being.” (Stacey O'Brien, author of Wesley the Owl)
“Readers will acquire education plenty from Gilbert’s discussions of the creatures she encounters and the challenges rehabbers face.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Gilbert’s prose reads easily, ushered along by her clear, knowledgeable explanations of biology, medicine, natural history, nutrition, and animal behavior. . . . Strongly recommended.” (Henry T. Armistead, Library Journal)
“Funny and insightful. . . . Most of us see birds through binoculars and windows. Suzie Gilbert has entered their lives.” (Carl Zimmer, author of Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life and Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea)
From the Back Cover
In this captivating memoir, Suzie Gilbert tells the rollicking story of how she turned her family life upside down to pursue her unusual passion for rehabilitating wild birds.
Through adolescence and into adulthood, Suzie Gilbert struggled to find her calling. But when she took a job working at the animal hospital near her home in New York's Hudson Valley, her passion was born. She began bringing abused and unwanted parrots home and volunteering at a local raptor rehabilitation center, activities she continued for the next eleven years, even as she started a family. Then came the ultimate commitment to her cause: turning her home into Flyaway, Inc., a nonprofit wild bird rehabilitation center.
Gilbert chronicles the years of her chaotic household-cum-bird-hospital with delightful wit, recounting the confusion that ensued as her husband and two young children struggled to live in a house where parrots shrieked Motown songs, nestling robins required food every twenty minutes, and recuperating herons took over the spare bathroom. Gradually, however, the birds came to represent the value of compassion and the importance of pursuing even the most unlikely of dreams.
Often funny, sometimes painful, Gilbert's encounters with these beautiful creatures reveal profound truths not only about animals but also about our own lives—lessons of birth and death, suffering and empathy, holding on and letting go.
Original, lyrical, and highly entertaining, Flyaway will forever change the way you see this amazing member of the animal kingdom.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
To compare Suzie Gilbert's `Flyaway' to James Herriot's `All Creatures Great and Small' is not a stretch. Here, once again, as in Herriot's wonderful peek into the rustic life of an English vet, we are treated to an insider's view of the sacrifices, lessons, and rewards of a family whose life revolves around a parent who is not only caretaker to her children, but to a constant parade of needy beings of other species. In Gilbert's case, the creatures are winged, wild, and ownerless--grackles, crows, robins, owls, hawks, and vultures. They limp through Gilbert's door to be healed and coached back into the wild again.
For those of us animal lovers who have the natural sympathies but lack the time, place, patience, and slightly mad passion to engage ourselves this deeply with the natural world, this book is a must-read. In it, I was constantly reminded that the price of love (any kind of love) is steep--and sometimes paradoxically and painfully akin to cruelty. We must learn to let go of what we love the most when it is best to do so for the object of our devotion and for our own sanity.
President, Audubon Society of Lincoln City
We learn that there are very few wildlife coroners in the US - she names the one in New York State, there may be others (I don't have the book in front of me to check). But it seems like a huge oversight on the nation's part. There are many other great injustices to wildlife, and a huge need to educate people about caring for wildlife so that people don't inadvertently harm animals whilst trying to help them. Some key pointers are provided in the book, when her children tell other children what they've been doing wrong. (PS - her kids are amazing!)
The author does a great job of explaining the ins and out of the rehabber life; so much so that any anger I have held towards rehabbers in my area who have constantly refused to come out to help wildlife has dissipated. I see that in most instances, they simply can't. There's no money. No time. No space. There's plenty of burn-out.
So, yes, do buy this book, you won't regret it as there is so much to learn. So why am I only giving it a 3-star? Two reasons: the writer's forced attempts at humour, which put my teeth on edge. She's not naturally funny, not in the least, and I wish she or her editor would have recognized that and just sliced out the grating attempts at comedy.
Also, the ending was very weak, so that it felt like the story was never properly wrapped up. In other words, what happens in the end? We're left with some clues, but no clear indication of what really happened in her life, or what her plans are for the future. The book does build in momentum from a rather slow start, so a weak ending is a let-down.
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