Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Supremely Bad Idea

from Goodreads:
It was an epiphany: The moment two friends showed Luke Dempsey a small bird flitting around the bushes of his country garden, he fell madly in love. But did he really want to be a birder? Didn’t that mean he’d be forced to eat granola? And wear a man-pouch? Before he knew it, though, he was lost to birding mania. Early mornings in Central Park gave way to weekend mornings wandering around Pennsylvania, which morphed into weeklong trips to Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Florida—anywhere the birds were.

A Supremely Bad Idea is one man’s account of an epic journey around America, all in search of the rarest and most beautiful birds the country has to offer. But the birds are only part of it. There are also his crazy companions, Don and Donna Graffiti, who obsess over Dempsey’s culinary limitations and watch in horror as an innocent comment in a store in Arizona almost turns into an international incident; as a trip through wild Florida turns into a series of (sometimes poetic) fisticuffs; and as he teeters at the summit of the Rocky Mountains, a displaced Brit falling in love all over again, this time with his adopted country.
Both a paean to avian beauty and a memoir of the back roads of America,A Supremely Bad Idea is a supremely fun comic romp: an environmentally sound This Is Spinal Tap with binoculars.

from me:
I really liked this book.  I gave it 3 stars.
It was 'laugh out loud' funny in a lot of places.
(but maybe only if you've been bird watching)
The writing was witty.
(There is no arguing that)
The book did encourage and excite me and motivate me to  -- go find more birds!
I want to go birding with my bird-nerd friends!!

Having said that tho, I thought the flow of his essays flitty. 
Yes, flitty is a word (I just made it up)
Flitty like birds, so it only makes sense his observations would be the same.
It goes back and forth a bit too much for me. Like there is a memory/story inside another memory/story inside the first memory/story and then he  brings it all back around.
But truth be told, I find that is kind of true of every birding memoir I've read.  The stories are great and fun and exciting, the writing usually good,  but...
....if you are not into birds, why would you think reading about  spending hours trudging thru mosquito infested forests in northern Michigan in the cold fickle spring, which then brings to mind the  pondering of your dead father, and the fact that you are a picky eater, fun?
(see?  I told you, story in story in story)

I know that books take us places we've never been and expand our minds, blah blah blah, but those are novels.  I think memoirs need to have an audience and I'm just not so sure birding experiences have a big one  (audience that is).

This, of course, sounds like I didn't like the book, which I DID. Very much.
It was funny, and very well written.
I would give it 3.8  stars, but they don't give me that much leeway. 

 I do love the outdoors/nature and I am always saddened by what our growing population does to wildlife habitats.
And in books such as these, I always learn a tad bit more information which makes me a tad bit more sad.

If you like birds and you like essays and/or memoirs and you like witty writing then:

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