In this captivating memoir, Suzie Gilbert tells the rollicking story of how she turned her family life upside down to pursue her unusual passion for rehabilitating wild birds.
Through adolescence and into adulthood, Suzie Gilbert struggled to find her calling. But when she took a job working at the animal hospital near her home in New York’s Hudson Valley, her passion was born. She began bringing abused and unwanted parrots home and volunteering at a local raptor rehabilitation center, activities she continued for the next eleven years, even as she started a family. Then came the ultimate commitment to her cause: turning her home into Flyaway, Inc., a nonprofit wild bird rehabilitation center.
Gilbert chronicles the years of her chaotic household-cum-bird-hospital with delightful wit, recounting the confusion that ensued as her husband and two young children struggled to live in a house where parrots shrieked Motown songs, nestling robins required food every twenty minutes, and recuperating herons took over the spare bathroom. Gradually, however, the birds came to represent the value of compassion and the importance of pursuing even the most unlikely of dreams.
Often funny, sometimes painful, Gilbert’s encounters with these beautiful creatures reveal profound truths not only about animals but also about our own lives—lessons of birth and death, suffering and empathy, holding on and letting go.
Original, lyrical, and highly entertaining, Flyaway will forever change the way you see this amazing member of the animal kingdom.
I grew up in Oyster Bay, New York, on Long Island. I went to local elementary and middle schools, and then to boarding school in Connecticut. I attended a number of colleges (eventually graduating from Columbia University, School of General Studies, in 1983) and had many different jobs, but the only ones that ever really clicked for me were working with animals. After my husband and I were married, we moved from New York City to the Hudson Valley, where I found work at an animal hospital, began bringing home unwanted parrots, and started volunteering at a rehabilitation center for birds of prey. I had two children, Mac and Skye. I wrote a children’s book, Hawk Hill (Chronicle Books, 1996), and for two years wrote an environmental column for a small chain of upstate New York newspapers. After 11 years at the raptor center, I decided to rehab injured birds at home, and still do today.
Suzie’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS
Monday, March 22nd: Seens from the backs of my eyelids
Wednesday, March 24th: A Little Piece of Me
Thursday, March 25th: The Road to Here
Tuesday, March 30th: A Gardener in Progress
Wednesday, March 31st: Bookfoolery and Babble
Wednesday, April 7th: Red and the Peanut
Thursday, April 8th: Rambling Woods ~ The Road Less Traveled
Wednesday, April 14th: Raging Bibliomania
Thursday, April 15th: Regular Rumination
Tuesday, April 20th: Farmgirl Fare
Wednesday, April 21st: Sycamore Canyon