Friday, December 14, 2012

Book Review: Buddy (how a rooster made me a family man) by Brian McGrory

I was given a copy of Buddy (How a rooster made me a family man) by Brian McGrory to review, and to give away to my fine readers! When I heard the title, really I just had to read the book. It's not every day we have heartwarming life lessons coming from roosters (at least not roosters named Buddy; Chanticleer from The Book of the Dun Cow [and various other tales, though I guess he's not the same exact character in every one] I guess has a pretty good track record).

The book opens a bit like The Walking Dead (yes, I love that show): with a scene that, chronologically, happens in a different part of the story than the actual beginning. We as the reader are treated to a slice of waking up to one's crowing rooster in suburban life; I assure you, it's jarring.

Then we back up a bit, to McGrory's frankly awesome sounding Golden Retriever, Harry. We back up to his receiving a mystery gift, from somebody who thanks him for "making [the giver] smile". Then we go through Harry's heartbreaking aging process, and decline, and Harry's last day. I was in tears over McGrory's dog dying, and we were only a little way into the book here. From the title, I expected this to be a little more lighthearted?  (though really, what animal books are?)

Then we meet Pam, Harry's vet, and McGrory's eventual girlfriend and then fiancĂ©e. Then we meet Pam's daughters, Abigail and Caroline, from a previous marriage. And then, the man of the hour (book?): Buddy. Buddy started out as a school science project, and a chicken, for all anybody knew. It was a bit later that they realized she was a he (and said "Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side", though nobody actually said that.)

As Buddy matured, he loved the ladies in his life. McGrory? Not so much. He got charged, hounded (roostered?) flapped at, and in general harried. McGrory thought time and again that, since Buddy was older and now a rooster, Pam would find a nice farm for him to live on...which never exactly ended up happening, for a variety of reasons. Buddy loved the girls, though, and Buddy very clearly had a personality of his own, a big one that matched his figure, and so this was one of the compromises that McGrory gave in to in this new relationship he had, this fitting together of puzzle pieces between his life and Pam's (though to his credit, at least so far as the book relates, he kept most of his Buddy misgivings to himself).

An interesting turning point occurs when he actually sticks up for Buddy while, on vacation, a very agitated Buddy struck at one of the girls (a huge no no, as one might assume). Then the boys seemed to come to an accord, after the households merge into one. I'm not going to tell the whole should read it yourself!

As I mentioned, one of my lucky readers will win my copy of this book. To enter into the giveaway, just leave a comment below about why you want to read it or your experience with chickens (or roosters, something like that). The giveaway is open from today, December 14, to Tuesday, December 18. At that time, Elka will pick the winner, and (hopefully) I'll have the post up well, posthaste. 


  1. I have never read a book about bonding with a chicken! Dogs, many. Cats, several. Parrot, one, owl, one. But rooster? That sounds exceedingly interesting! And I just like critter books ...

  2. Why would I like this book? Because perhaps one day I'll get a chicken (or a rooster) for a gift, and I would like to know how to handle myself.

  3. I read another book somewhat on this line- "Enslaved by Ducks", and it was an unexpected gem! Hoping this would be the same!

  4. I'd love to read this book. I have 8 backyard chickens and 2 Dobermans to keep them company. Never had a rooster though. Maybe someday.....