Fowl Weather by Bob Tarte | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Fowl Weather: How Thirty-Nine Animals and One Sock Monkey Took Over My Life

Fowl Weather: How Thirty-Nine Animals and One Sock Monkey Took Over My Life

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by Bob Tarte
     
 

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In Bob Tarte's home, pandemonium is the order of the day, and animals literally rule the roost—thirty-nine of them at last count. Whether it's the knot-tying African grey parrot, or the overweight cat who's trained Bob to hold her water bowl just above the floor, or the nightmarish duck who challenges him to a shoving match, this menagerie, along with his

Overview

In Bob Tarte's home, pandemonium is the order of the day, and animals literally rule the roost—thirty-nine of them at last count. Whether it's the knot-tying African grey parrot, or the overweight cat who's trained Bob to hold her water bowl just above the floor, or the nightmarish duck who challenges him to a shoving match, this menagerie, along with his endlessly optimistic wife, Linda, provides daily lessons on the chaos inherent in our lives. But not until this modern-day Noah's Ark hits stormy weather—and Bob's world spins out of control—does he realize that this exuberant gaggle of animals provides his spiritual anchor. It is their alien presence, their sense of humor, and their impulsive behavior that both drive Bob crazy and paradoxically return him to sanity.

With the same sly humor and dead-on character portraits that made Enslaved by Ducks such a rousing success, Tarte proves that life with animals offers a wholly different perspective on the world.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"On the web-footed heels of Enslaved by Ducks (2003), Tarte serves up another helping of his always-interesting life surrounded by animals. . . . What the author discovers is that his animals give him his center and focus, and that for all the headaches they can cause they also provide a form of sanity."
— Nancy Bent
Booklist - Nancy Bent
"On the web-footed heels of Enslaved by Ducks (2003), Tarte serves up another helping of his always-interesting life surrounded by animals. . . . What the author discovers is that his animals give him his center and focus, and that for all the headaches they can cause they also provide a form of sanity."
From the Publisher
"On the web-footed heels of Enslaved by Ducks (2003), Tarte serves up another helping of his always-interesting life surrounded by animals. . . . What the author discovers is that his animals give him his center and focus, and that for all the headaches they can cause they also provide a form of sanity."
Publishers Weekly

This follow-up to Tarte's popular Enslaved by Ducks, which introduced the somewhat neurotic writer; his supportive wife, Linda; and their animals—first a bunny and then an expanding menagerie of parrots, ducks, turkeys, cats and more bunnies—has a somewhat darker undertone, but should still delight readers with its humorous "Dave Barry on a farm" sensibility. Tarte begins with an admission that his life of caring for 30-odd animals had become pretty run-of-the-mill, and that he "longed for the unexpected, and that was always a mistake." What he gets, over the next five years, includes his father's death, his mother's diagnosis with Alzheimer's, a garden pest control/philosopher who doesn't really know anything about gardening, and the sudden deaths of some of his favorite pets. Despite the many wacky barnyard moments, Tarte doesn't play it safe: he deftly explores his concern that "dark undercurrents had risen to the top like worms after a rain, and the worms were now in charge." But with the help of family, friends and a new parrot named Bella, he overcomes his setbacks and sees that the "mixture of wildness and comfort" created by his beloved animals "was life itself in miniature." (Mar. 16)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This follow-up to Enslaved by Duckscontinues Tarte's tale of household life as directed by a menagerie made up of bird brains—real, honest-to-goodness bird brains. If you think taking care of your pet dog or cat can be amusing, imagine what it must be like sharing your home with 12 ducks, three parrots, six geese, two parakeets, one dove, nine hens, one turkey, two rabbits, and three cats. Things are bound to get exciting on a daily basis. In the first book, Tarte demonstrated how a positive attitude and a good sense of humor can make everyday problems roll off his back, like water off of a duck. Fowl Weatherfeatures more tragedy, with the death of Tarte's father, the Alzheimer's diagnosis of his mother, and the death of several of his favorite pets. Nevertheless, Tarte's furry and feathered charges serve as role models for taking life as it comes and keeping perspective in a sometimes insane world. Look no further than Stanley Sue, Hamilton, or Richie to know that even birds have personality. A delightful, one-sitting read; highly recommended.
—Edell Schaefer
Kirkus Reviews
Domesticated journalist Tarte follows up his first report on life with critters, Enslaved by Ducks (2003). The family house in Michigan is home to half-a-dozen indoor birds, mostly parrots, and indoor mammals including cats, rabbits and a skunk. Lodged behind the house is a flock of fowl: ducks, geese and a chicken. The backyard is an animal necropolis. Naturally, Bob and wife Linda, busily tending to their animal charges, just love them all. Reading like a sitcom with a menagerie, the book offers stories of a difficult garden hose, an underfed spider, the eviction of yellow jackets, an adopted apartment-bred duck, a nest of mice in a favorite chair and the tube feeding of an ailing parrot-along with some innocent laughs about Linda's aching back. A friendly vet ministers to a dying bunny and fixes an egg-bound bird. Mentions of the death of the author's father and the distressing Alzheimer's of his increasingly demented mother are certainly troubling, but the text balances them with the comfort of Tarte's Ark, filled with personable animals like Louie, Ollie, Stanley Sue, "a buff-colored Buff Orpington named Buffy" and a sock monkey. Tarte offers a few bits and pieces concerning humans, but they're overwhelmed by garrulous pieces about the pets that disappear and appear, clucking, squalling and smelling from basement to attic. The author's previous work yielded some amusements, but now it's time to clean house a bit. Tarte's current presentation of fun with fauna tests just how far personification of animals can go before a grip on normal life begins to loosen. Best for staunch fanciers of fey animal tales.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565125025
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
03/16/2007
Pages:
306
Sales rank:
658,895
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.76(h) x 1.17(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Bob Tarte's writing is as delightful as Gerald Durrell's, and his humor is as quirky and smart as a Gary Larson cartoon. Yet Tarte has a voice all his own, and his unforgettable family—feathered, furred, and (the human ones, mostly) flummoxed—is one you'll love visiting. I couldn't put this book down (though I did pause to laugh out loud), and when I finished, I read it all over again!" — Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig

"More than just a hilarious and raucous romp (which it is), Fowl Weather shows how a parrot, or a rabbit, or a duck, or a cat, can teach us more about ourselves and about the chaos of the world than any therapist or philosopher. Bob Tarte is clearly a man after my own heart." - Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

Meet the Author

Bob Tarte wrote for The Beat magazine for twenty years. He has also written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Miami New Times, the Whole Earth Review, and other publications. He hosts the What Were You Thinking? podcast for petliferadio.com. He and his wife Linda live in Lowell, Michigan, and currently serve the whims of parrots, ducks, geese, parakeets, a rabbit, doves, hens, one turkey, and way too many cats.

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