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Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories

by Alice Walker

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59558-645-2
Publisher: New Press

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of imparts life lessons and sage wisdom through the care and feeding of a delightful flock of chickens.

Walker (Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems, 2010, etc.) realized that as a serious egg-lover, it would behoove her to “get to know the chickens laying them.” She soon hatched an agreement with a family nearby to raise them together in the rudimentary Northern California wine country neighborhood where she’s lived for 30 years. As offbeat as it may seem, Walker developed a profound attachment and an intrinsic contentment by befriending her nine “undeniably gorgeous” chickens. Often found crouched and crowing in her lap and balanced upon her shoulders, the author named each of them personally (Gertrude Stein, Babe, Rufus, Gladys, Glorious, etc.), contemplated their behaviors and researched their varietal breeds. The memoir is, in part, an assemblage of chronological entries from the author’s blog, and spans from present-day farming time to her youth in rural Georgia, where she acquired an appreciation for animals and music. The second half of the book includes poems and letters she’s written to the chickens while traveling. At their strongest, these short essays are illuminating and wonderfully wacky ruminations from the earth-conscious mind of a “run-of-the-mill mostly vegetarian person.” Walker’s sage, compassionate memoir is meant to be savored and contemplated; fans will appreciate the devoted nurturing of her feathered backyard brood as the embodiment of a lifetime spent cultivating peace, harmony and the “wonder and spontaneity of Nature.”

Life-affirmative and eccentrically inspirational.