Cast of Characters




Book Club Questions


"A wry memoir by a Midwest-based reviewer of world music who naively buys a rabbit and eventually finds himself playing hand servant to a collection of emotionally damaged parrots, geese, turkeys, and other birds. Try living with a parrot – you might wind up on Zoloft, too."
Bill Maher, The Atlantic Monthly, October 2006

"In his hilarious debut, Tarte - a city boy at heart - chronicles how his blissful, animal-free life took an unexpectedly raucous turn when his nature-loving wife decided to share their spacious, early 20th-century Michigan farmhouse with a menagerie of furry and feathery friends: a malicious bunny with an appetite for live wires, a homicidal turkey, a horny ring-necked dove, a trash-talking African grey parrot, and more than a dozen other quirky creatures. Through each new animal is wackier and more demanding than the last, Tarte rebels against his urban instincts and learns to love his personal zoo. After reading this delightfully punchy account, you may never look at Fido the same way again. B+."
Entertainment Weekly, November 14, 2003

"The wholly disarming story of a music reviewer's move to the country, where he gradually, inexorably gathered about him a ragtag band of animals... 'Why didn't anyone warn me?' Tarte asks about the consequences of sharing a home with animals. It's a good thing they didn't, or we might not have had this affecting debut."
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2003

"With dead-on character portraits, Tarte keeps readers laughing about unreliable pet store proprietors, a duck named Hector who doesn't like water, an amorous dove named Howard, a foster-mother goose, patient veterinarians and increasingly bewildered friends. Tarte has an ordinary-Joe voice that makes each chapter a true pleasure, while revealing a sophisticated vision of animals and their relationship to humans."
Publisher's Weekly, August 11, 2003

"Part Gerald Durrell and part Bill Bryson, this heartwarming book will find many readers among Rascal and That Quail, Robert devotees."
Nancy Brent, Booklist, October 1, 2003

" This light and witty diversion is highly recommended for those who appreciate the value of good humor and a positive outlook on life."
Edell Schaefer, Library Journal, October 15, 2003

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