The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, The Gladyses, & Babe: A Memoir

The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, The Gladyses, & Babe: A Memoir

2.6 5
by Alice Walker
     
 

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For the past several years, on a farm north of San Francisco, the celebrated writer Alice Walker has diligently cared for a flock of chickens. Over time, her blossoming relationship with “her girls” became a source of inspiration, strength, and spiritual discovery, and helped Walker connect more profoundly with her own past as a girl in rural Georgia.

Overview


For the past several years, on a farm north of San Francisco, the celebrated writer Alice Walker has diligently cared for a flock of chickens. Over time, her blossoming relationship with “her girls” became a source of inspiration, strength, and spiritual discovery, and helped Walker connect more profoundly with her own past as a girl in rural Georgia. Walker has recorded this journey in The Chicken Chronicles, an extraordinary document of personal discovery, political commitment, and the joys of relating to
animals.

Each of Walker’s thirty-eight chronicles addresses her “girls” directly, sometimes from the intimate proximity of her yard, other times at a great distance, from her journeys to Bali and Dharamsala as a witness and activist for peace and justice. By turns uplifting and heartbreaking, The Chicken Chronicles is a new treat for Walker fans, a powerful touchstone for anyone seeking a deeper connection with the natural world, and a celebration of chickens everywhere!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Writers must imagine their audience. This seems a fundamental enough concept, particularly for a Pulitzer Prize winner like Walker (The Color Purple). The intended reader of these 37 chronicles, however, feels rather murky. At least that is, until it becomes clear that Walker is addressing her chickens. Beyond referring to herself in the third person as "mommy"-that would be the chickens' mommy-Walker describes a trip to India, confesses her "impatience" with and "withdrawal" from the original hens after new chickens arrive, and writes a poem in honor of Michael Jackson for her chickens, all with the tone and depth with which we typically address our pets or infants, which is to say the insipid baby-talk that no other human should have to hear, nor read. The title promises something intriguing-Walker's memories perhaps. Instead, the banal day-to-day is made even more simplistic for the sake of the "girls." Most readers would have been interested in Walker's thoughts on Gandhi or the Dalai Lama, but unfortunately these passages, like the others, remain insufferable. This time Walker's talking to her chickens and her chickens alone.
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Library Journal
In this, her 11th title, Walker invites her readers into her personal spaces to share in the joy and wonder her chickens engender and to witness the trials collectively endured. Nearly entirely vegetarian, Walker began her chicken coop to fulfill not so much practical needs as sentimental ones, as a hearkening back to the rural Georgia of her childhood. As an adult, enjoying the still-warm eggs her individually named chicken companions provide her leads to heartfelt, thought-provoking ruminations on sustenance from perspectives of both giver and receiver. Through 37 snug chapters, many of which originally appeared on the author's blog, Walker and her chicken "Girls" lead readers through explorations of nature and nurture and the intricacies of the intersections between this traditionally opposed dyad. One can readily conjure Walker as she comes inside from the chicken yard and writes down her thoughts and impressions. VERDICT Walker's use of the third-person diminutive "Mommy" to self-identify may not be to all tastes and lends to an overall tone here that may not appeal to some readers. Recommended for Walker's fans, readers interested in naturalism or spiritualism, YA readers, and enthusiasts of raising chickens.—Jewell Anderson, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ. Lib., Savannah
Kirkus Reviews

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.

Sarah Halzack
The book's success hinges largely on Walker's tone. There is deep sincerity in her gratitude and affection for her flock, along with an equally keen awareness that the idea of having a transformative relationship with chickens may sound a bit odd. It's this ideal blend between earnestness and self-deprecation that makes the book so engaging.
—The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595586452
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
05/10/2011
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


Alice Walker is one of the most prolific writers of our time, known for her literary fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Color Purple, her many volumes of poetry, and her powerful nonfiction collections. Her advocacy for the dispossessed has spanned the globe. She lives in Northern California.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Mendocino, California
Date of Birth:
February 9, 1944
Place of Birth:
Eatonton, Georgia
Education:
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1965; attended Spelman College, 1961-63

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The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God 2.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that you will either love or hate I have and love chickens but don't call myself mom Liked her insights on the various issues of the world I would recommend it only to those who have a new age attitude or understanding
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't familiar with the author when I started reading this book but found the writing boring, arrogant and self-indulgent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zarabee More than 1 year ago
I just got chickens in my backyard and was enjoying this book on my Nook. It was great to go through the discovery and enjoyment of having chickens with Alice Walker .... until the chapter on Michael Jackson's death. What this has to do with a chicken dying is beyond me. I skimmed the chapter, only to find the next chapter entitled "St. Michael, Lover of Animals and Children." I didn't buy this book to read about a pedaphile! It didn't belong in this book and I otherwise would have given it 5 stars. I felt like someone interrupted my private reading enjoyment with putrid verbal vomit. She should keep her views on pedaphiles (especially with that chapter title!) out of a book about innocent chickens. I know that she is trying to relate the day to day observance of chickens to people in her life, but two chapters to this utter nonesense will make sure that I never read anything else by Walker.