Every minute was magical, every single thing it did was fascinating and everything it didn't do was equally wondrous, and to be sat there with a kestrel, a real live kestrel, my own real live kestrel on my wrist! I felt like I'd climbed through a hole in heaven's fence.
An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham was only at home in the fields and woods around his suburban home. But when he stole a young kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love - and that would change him forever.
In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the '70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds' eggs and sweaty jam jars to his feral adventures. But pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn't understand him. Beautifully wrought, this coming-of-age memoir will be unlike any you've ever heard.
©2016 Chris Packham (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks
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"Riveting tale of love and loss."
Loved it. The highs and lows of Chris Packham's animal - entwined adventures throughout his youth is a compelling read.
Read beautifully by the author.
"Sparkles with pain & beauty"
Brutally & beautifully honest. An ultimately uplifting story of isolation, love & loss across the human & non-human spheres. Chris reveals a complex passion for the natural world - there's nothing simple or reductive here. Connectivity, autism, anxiety, grief & redemption - all thread through the journey. A tricksy mind is opened for us - like the specimen drawers finally explored by Chris' sister. We share its immense capacity for love & struggle for balance & survival.
Written with the eye of both an artist & a scientist, we learn about the human & the natural world & their complex interactions. He brings the 1970s to life with a few careful brushstrokes. But this is far more than a celebrity bio - rather, it uses that celebrity status to give an outsider hope - to promise that it is possible to transcend being different. Chris writes with humility & dignity &, in the language of the story, sparkle. A book to change lives.
A wonderfully passionate and gut wrenchingly honest read that had me captivated all the way through.
I'm an even bigger CP fan now.
Simply wonderful. Brutally honest, and wonderfully inspiring memoir for all who spent their childhoods enchanted by all the wild creatures in their neighbourhood. Thanks for sharing your often painful memories, Chris. I do hope you will write many more books.
"Chris Packham: national treasure!"
Thanks Chris Packham for this amazing book. Funny, sad, informative, never slow or boring, sumptuous prose and a brilliant explanation of the Chris we only slightly glimpse and infer when we see him on TV. Thank goodness there were only 39!
I know Chris Packham as the tv presenter and local naturalist (I live on the edge of the New Forest). I now have renewed respect for him as a writer. This book was engaging, fascinating, disturbing and painful, but written with immense honesty and insight. I couldn't stop listening until I got to the end. I was left with many questions...what happened when Chris discovered the damaged kestrel's egg? I don't usually write reviews but this book is very different. And highly recommended.
"heart wrenchingly honest and simply beautiful"
I've never been one for autobiographies but this one is well with the read/listen. It is clever, witty, raunchy, honest and heart warming. It is well up there with my favourites.
Amazing read. Such a mixture of sincere heartache and heartwarming humour. Lively writing that transports you right into the centre of this magnificent young boy. A wonderful story. Well done Chris!
"beautifully evocative and sometimes brutal"
Read superbly by the author, this is a real treat. Obviously Packham fans will enjoy, but anyone who loves nature, or did as a kid, anyone with imperfect parents, anyone who grew up in the 70s, anyone who was bullied, anyone who experiences mental health struggles, dog lovers ... yes everyone will find something to enjoy here. Not all sunshine and birdsong though - a warning to the squeamish.
"Too flowery for my loo liking"
the first half of the book feels like the author has swallowed a dictionary or thesaurus, way too flowery for my liking, but does get better in the second half.
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