Book Review: Bird Is the Word

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Alice Walker is not above cleaning out a chicken coop. In The Chicken Chronicles, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author tends and mothers the beloved flock she keeps on her rural Northern California spread, contemplating their unintentional teachings on compassion, bullying, friendship, meditation, and death. The 37 poignant and wonderfully eccentric short essays offer an intimate glimpse into Walker’s every day, as well as illuminate some of life’s weightiest lessons. Who knew all of this could be found in a backyard henhouse?

Have something to say? Send a letter to This article first appeared in the July-August 2011 issue of Utne Reader

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