Book Review: Winging It – Jenny Gardiner

Title: Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me
Author: Jenny Gardiner
ISBN: 9781439157619
Pages: 256
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Publisher: Simon Spotlight
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Source: Author
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

When Jenny is pregnant with her first child, her brother-in-law magnanimously bestows an African gray parrot on her and her husband.  Though they are cognizant of the fact that time timing is horrible, they accept the bird lovingly into their family.  Named Graycie, this is an account of the curmudgeonly, perpetually violent parrot and how she’s been integrated into Jenny and Scott’s family.

Review:

I really enjoyed Jenny Gardiner’s first book, Sleeping With Ward Cleaver, so when I heard she had a new memoir coming out, I knew I wanted to read it.  However, I was a little worried – I’m not much of a pet person (I like animals, I just haven’t had once since I was a kid), so I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy an entire book about a parrot.  However, I didn’t need to worry – Jenny does a great job with this book and she kept me interested from beginning to end.

I have to say kudos to Jenny for not only committing herself to Graycie, but really trying to help her and recognizing that when she acted out, it’s because Graycie was unhappy.  Jenny is the first to admit she hasn’t been able to devote the time or attention necessary to make Graycie happy (though from what I gather, it would take 100% of Jenny’s attention to keep Graycie even remotely satisfied).  I appreciated how she really cared about the parrot and wasn’t willing to give up, despite what she went through for Graycie. 

Graycie’s antics are definitely entertaining, but this isn’t a book of random vignettes about a murderous parrot.  Instead, Jenny skillfully weaves the tales of her parrot with other stories about her family.  It’s a book about what has happened to Jenny’s family over the past twenty years, framed through hilarious parrot stories and anecdotes.  This balance really made the book enjoyable for me.

I very much enjoyed Winging It, and recommend it even if you aren’t necessarily a pet lover.  Jenny is a gifted storyteller, and her strong, confident, and wonderfully humorous voice really carries the memoir.  I’m glad I gave it a chance and will definitely be looking for her future books.

Comments

  1. I picked this one up the other day and after your review I am that much more eager to get to it. Not that I don’t think it’s valid, but I have to admit that I am amused with the way our culture applies psychology to everything and everyone.

  2. I picked this one up the other day and after your review I am that much more eager to get to it. Not that I don’t think it’s valid, but I have to admit that I am amused with the way our culture applies psychology to everything and everyone.

  3. i wondered how that would work out.
    focus on bird, or bird worked in.

    thanks for the heads up, this might actually be readable knowing that!

  4. i wondered how that would work out.
    focus on bird, or bird worked in.

    thanks for the heads up, this might actually be readable knowing that!

  5. I am a little wary of this book too-not a fan of birds, but your review makes it sound interesting. Thanks!

  6. I am a little wary of this book too-not a fan of birds, but your review makes it sound interesting. Thanks!

  7. Love the cover! I’m definitely not an animal person so I probably won’t read this, but I’m impressed she was able to do it without making it solely about the bird.

  8. Love the cover! I’m definitely not an animal person so I probably won’t read this, but I’m impressed she was able to do it without making it solely about the bird.

  9. Since I am definitely an animal person, this does indeed sound like a book I would love. I am also impressed that it’s not only an animal book, and that it weaves some elements of biography within the story of Graycie. Great review! This is one I will be looking for!

  10. Since I am definitely an animal person, this does indeed sound like a book I would love. I am also impressed that it’s not only an animal book, and that it weaves some elements of biography within the story of Graycie. Great review! This is one I will be looking for!

  11. Yeah, right, many people would have taken the easy way out and just release the bird or take it to the humane society. But pets are for life. I am a huge animal person, evidenced by our five cats and guinea pig, and sometimes ducks, squirrels and tadpoles. I am certain I would love this book. I need to find an excuse to fit it into my reading.

  12. Yeah, right, many people would have taken the easy way out and just release the bird or take it to the humane society. But pets are for life. I am a huge animal person, evidenced by our five cats and guinea pig, and sometimes ducks, squirrels and tadpoles. I am certain I would love this book. I need to find an excuse to fit it into my reading.

  13. I can’t wait to read this! Jenny is such a hoot on Twitter, so I expect some wit in the book.

  14. I can’t wait to read this! Jenny is such a hoot on Twitter, so I expect some wit in the book.

  15. This sounds like another example of a case where we have tried to domesticate animals that should never had been domesticated. But it does sound interesting.

  16. This sounds like another example of a case where we have tried to domesticate animals that should never had been domesticated. But it does sound interesting.

  17. Awww, thank you so much for the lovely, thoughtful review of Winging It! Thanks for taking the time to read it and I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

  18. Awww, thank you so much for the lovely, thoughtful review of Winging It! Thanks for taking the time to read it and I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

  19. I really need to pick up one of Jenny’s books!

  20. I really need to pick up one of Jenny’s books!

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