Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: One Bird's Choice

One Bird's Choice: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twenty-Something Who Moves Back Home by Iain Reid

Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Genre: Memoir
ISBN-13: 9780887842436

(Received for review from TLC Tours)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Synopsis (Book Jacket):

Meet Iain Reid: an overeducated, underemployed twenty-something, living in the big city in a bug-filled basement apartment and struggling to make ends meet. When Iain lands a job at a radio station near his childhood home, he decides to take it. But the work is only part time, so he is forced to move back in with his lovable but eccentric parents on their hobby farm. What starts out as a temporary arrangement turns into a year-long extended stay, in which Iain finds himself fighting with the farm fowl, taking fashion advice from the elderly, fattening up on a gluttonous fare of home-cooked food, and ultimately easing (perhaps a little too comfortably) into a semi-retired lifestyle.

A hilarious and heartwarming memoir about food, family and finally growing up, One Bird's Choice marks the arrival of a funny, original, and fresh new voice.


Iain Reid's memoir, One Bird's Choice is the story about finding your place in an economically challenged world. Readers will empathize with Iain. He did all the right things, got a good education and still found himself struggling to make it in today's competitive job market. Iain tells his story from a light-hearted perspective, staying positive throughout a very humbling year in which he was forced to move back to his childhood home with his parents.

The part time job he was able to get leaves him with a lot of spare time on his hands, which he filled by helping out on his parents hobby farm. His writing about this time in his life is very entertaining. He describes his thriving siblings and being compared to them as well as his experiences with the animals on the farm. His voice is very amusing and the reader can tell that he looks at life as something to be savored no matter what your circumstances are.

I thought he did a wonderful job at describing Canada, his interactions with people and animals and his feelings. His parents seemed very supportive, but definitely on the quirky side. Some of the conversations they shared were a bit out there, but I think readers will find Mom and Dad, funny and lovable. It always amazes me, how parents are able to take their adult children back into their homes and lives and still let them be themselves and grow in their own way. Iain's parents were certainly like that. They obviously loved him and understood his choices and abilities.

The animals on the farm really steal the show in this book. Reid describes them in such detail that their distinct personalities really come through to the reader. If you've ever lived on a farm it's easy to become attached to the critters, it's obvious that Iain was able to connect with them. His experiences with them are down right, hilarious. The chicken, the guinea pig and many others will keep the reader laughing and remembering similar experiences they've had in their own lives. Animals have a way of letting you know who is really the boss.

This is a book that will really resonate with a lot of the college graduates who are getting out of school and entering the job market in this economic climate. The down turn has put many educated people in the same boat. Too many people will the same qualifications all vying for the same jobs. In my generation if you got a college education, you got a good job, not so today.

I think Iain's story is heartwarming and hilarious. It's a fun read as well as an eye opening one. His writing is engaging and will keep the reader flipping the pages. It's a very relaxing read, great for a weekend or a lazy rainy day. I recommend this one to those who love memoirs, those who may be facing the same circumstances that Iain Reid faced and to those who are looking for a story that is a slice of life.

One Bird's Choice is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Iain Reid has written for several CBC Radio shows, including Definitely Not the Opera, Metro Morning, Here and Now, and GO. His work has also appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Iceland Review Online, and Atlantica magazine. A graduate of Queen's University, Iain Reid was born in Ottawa in 1981, and now lives in Kingston. One Bird's Choice is his first book.

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