Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Book ~ "Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man" (2012) Brian McGrory

From Goodreads ~ Award-winning journalist Brian McGrory goes head to beak in a battle royale with another male for a top-spot in his home, vying for dominance with the family’s pet rooster. 

Brian McGrory's life changed drastically after the death of his beloved dog, Harry: he fell in love with Pam, Harry's veterinarian. Though Brian’s only responsibility used to be his adored Harry, Pam came with accessories that could not have been more exotic to the city-loving bachelor: a home in suburbia, two young daughters, two dogs, two cats, two rabbits and a portly, snow white, red-crowned-and-wattled step-rooster named Buddy

While Buddy loves the women of the house, he takes Brian's presence as an affront, doing everything he can to drive out his rival. Initially resistant to elements of his new life and to the loud, aggressive rooster (who stares menacingly, pecks threateningly, and is constantly poised to attack), Brian eventually sees that Buddy shares the kind of extraordinary relationship with Pam and her two girls that he wants for himself. The rooster is what Brian needs to be – strong and content, devoted to what he has rather than what might be missing. 

As he learns how to live by living with animals, Buddy, Brian’s nemesis, becomes Buddy, Brian’s inspiration, in this inherently human story of love, acceptance, and change. In the tradition of bestsellers like Marley and Me, Dewey, and The Tender Bar comes a heartwarming and wise tale of finding love in life’s second chapter - and how it means all the more when you have to fight for it.

I'm not into roosters but I love animal stories and that's why this caught my eye.

Brian is divorced and has a great life ... a job he loves at the Boston Globe, a great dog named Harry, a condo in Boston and season's tickets for the Red Sox.  He gets to travel and eat out in restaurants.  After his beloved Harry dies, he becomes closer to Harry's vet, Pam.  Pam is newly divorced, has two pre-teen daughters, lives in the suburbs and a menagerie of animals (dogs, bunnies, frogs, etc.).

Brian and Pam get together and slowly everything Brian knows and is comfortable with changes ... he's giving up his condo and living in the 'burbs, he's a soon-to-be stepdad, he's mowing lawns and shoveling snow.  The biggest obstacle that comes, though, is Buddy.  What started out as a cute fuzzy yellow soft homework assignment grows into a menacing dominating spoiled rooster who loves Pam and her daughters but despises and attacks Brian.

This is the story of how Brian tries to adapt to his new life and the lessons he's learned from Harry and Buddy.

I enjoyed this book.  The story is entertaining, funny and heartwarming.  It is told from Brian's point of view as a fella who has never had to worry about taking care of anyone but himself and his dog.  There are times when he wants to run back to his old life in Boston but he knows that what he now has is worth having.

I liked the writing style.  It was funny and sarcastic at times and I found that it was well-paced.

As a former dog owner, I could relate to the loss when Harry died.  And I've never had children either so I could get where he was coming from when he talked about how indulged children are today.  A great example is when one of Pam's daughters is having a birthday party ... the cake is fancy and costs $150, there are balloons everywhere and Pam has hired a manicurist as the theme for the party.  Brian, who is about the same age as me, marvels that in his day (and mine), we had a cheap cake and played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey and that's the way it was.

I liked Brian.  Though I loved that Pam and her daughters were animal lovers, I did have an issue with them.  Buddy obviously hated Brian (he physically attacked Brian often) yet Pam said it was up to Brian to figure out a way to work it out (she's lucky he didn't bail and head back to Boston) ... I didn't blame him for imagining Buddy in a roast pan.  Her daughters sounded spoiled and bratty.  Granted it is written from Brian's perspective as a 40-something man who has never had children but they seemed overindulged.  One New Year's Day they demand that he head out to the store to buy them $100 dolls that were being released that day ... and he does, yet they thank their mother (who stayed home with the girls), not him.  I found them only likeable when they wanted Brian to read to them at night.

I would recommend this book!

1 comment:

Jennifer Hartling said...

I'm glad you liked this one ;) I thought it was funny and heartwarming!