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BUDDY by Brian McGrory


How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man

by Brian McGrory

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-95306-3
Publisher: Crown

The story of a newspaper columnist who got a second shot at love and happiness in the suburbs—only a crazed rooster named Buddy stood in his way.

Just a few years back, Boston Globe associate editor McGrory experienced the failure of his first marriage and the death of his beloved dog Harry. His professional career was still thriving, but the successful journalist knew it was time for a change. Remarkably, that change came with a person he had already known for years: Pam, Harry’s veterinarian. Of all the challenges the couple contemplated after deciding to get married and move to the suburbs, the last thing they imagined was a vengeful pet chicken. With suitable exasperation, McGrory recounts the incessant crowing, ambushes in the yard and nonstop defecation. This is an oddly morose memoir filled with as much sadness as joy. Harry’s ghost hangs heavy over everything, as the author’s strange preoccupation with loss—even as he stands to gain so much—ultimately proves frustrating. Even the almighty Buddy is something of a disappointment, little more than a feathered neurotic lashing out at a perilous world he sees as unremittingly threatening. Readers who adore their pets will no doubt identify with the profundity of losing a cherished animal, but the unrelenting somberness juxtaposed with the occasionally silly moment make for an uneven narrative.

An unexpectedly melancholy meditation on marriage, mortality and the merits of living in suburbia.