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Life with Ben: A Story of Friendship and Feathers Paperback – December 14, 2010
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About the Author
Jessica is working toward her degree in veterinary technology and has her master's degree in educational psychology. She spends her free time volunteering at a local parrot rescue where she cares for and rehabilitates parrots in order to find them permanent, loving homes. Currently, she shares her home with her dog, cat, and three amazing parrots.
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In reading the above paragraph, readers would have no idea of the struggles that Jessica faced while getting her education--especially before visiting Ben, the Amazon parrot that she saw in a pet store and instantly bonded with. He was different than the other parrots as he sat in the middle of his cage, not playing or making screeching sounds like the others. He was a very shy bird--twitching his head which had yellow and blue feathers splattered across it. He cautiously moved his green body to the corner of the cage so he could get a better look at her. Ben's former owner had passed away so he was in the pet store as he waited for a new home. Jessica and Ben--it was an emotional connection that both of them needed.
The stress of college life and being away from home had been difficult for Jessica--she didn't make friends easily and missed her family. After hitting rock bottom, she sought help and it came in the form of psychologists, medication, and her kinship with Ben. It was visiting Ben, the parrot, at the local pet store that gave her the most relief. Of course, she loved all the animals and birds, but she and Ben, with his twitching head, had become inseparable as she visited him at the pet store as often as possible. At the same time she began doing research on the various species of parrots, learning what all would be involved in taking care of them. She knew that adopting a parrot would be a lifetime commitment as they live nearly as long as humans. Jessica desperately wanted to buy Ben and take him home after finishing college; however, it would take some convincing to get her mother to agree. They already had a dog, cat, and a parakeet but an Amazon parrot would be way too much responsibility. But as you readers surely know by now, the mother changed her mind and purchased Ben for Jessica as a graduation gift.
Once Ben is finally home, readers will truly appreciate the author's gift of writing as she explains all the happenings as Ben adjusts to his new surroundings. Her description is vivid, and I feel her emotion as she expresses just how much Ben means to her. Some of his antics are very humorous such as when he is in the shower with her, also when he is swooping down on her mother who was just a bit fearful of him in the beginning and, of course, his behavior toward the other family pets. His eating habits are intriguing and Jessica learns how quickly he can destroy a book. There is so much that readers will learn and enjoy about Ben, especially seeing the difference he makes in Jessica's life as she continues to deal with her anxiety and depression. Also, Ben is no longer a shy parrot.
Although Jessica advises readers not to purchase a parrot without understanding all the responsibilities involved, I do advise them to purchase a copy of this heartwarming and interesting book. I give it my highest recommendation.