Best for like-minded bird enthusiasts.

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HOW A WILD BIRD REHABBER SOUGHT ADVENTURE AND FOUND HER WINGS

Free-spirited animal lover shares the ups and downs of five years spent rehabilitating injured birds from her Hudson Valley home.

Gilbert (Hawk Hill, 1996) admits she was always a misanthropic rebel—bouncing among schools and jobs and resenting authority, but enthralled by the dignity of animals. She worked at an animal hospital and volunteered at a raptor center for several years before becoming a home-based rehabber. Gilbert had a flight cage built, passed her federal permit exam and agreed to accept only recovering songbirds. The need for committed, qualified wildlife rehabilitators is so great, however, that she found herself taking on more birds than she could handle, largely out of guilt for the wrongs visited by “perverse” humans on the innocent avian population. She comically describes her house becoming a veritable circus of wild birds, with a great blue heron in the shower, grackles in the flight cage, a duckling in the living room and waxwings perched wherever there was room. (Westlake’s illustrations vividly convey the scene.) While Gilbert’s jealous pets, a yellow-collared macaw and an African grey parrot, waged war on the invading species, her patient family got used to seeing defrosted rats on top of the dryer or mealworms in the fridge. The author’s two children in particular add purpose and exuberance to her story. Readers will acquire education aplenty from Gilbert’s discussions of the creatures she encounters and the challenges rehabbers face in a world where more than 90 percent of wildlife injuries are the direct result of human activity. She excoriates ignorant owners who let domestic cats hunt birds for play, decries her perennial lack of funds and labor and describes working with vets to decide whether euthanasia or captivity is more humane. Gilbert is abrasive and funny, a crusader with little patience for those who do not share her concerns. She scants opportunities to transcend her topic and connect with readers on more relatable struggles like family balance, accepting limits and managing suffering.

Best for like-minded bird enthusiasts.

Pub Date: March 2, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-156312-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2009

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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