Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alex & Me by Irene m. Pepperberg

alex-and-meI don't know what I was expecting from Alex & Me exactly, but it was not what I got from the book. The book was much more than what my expectations had set out for it to be. I realized as I opened the first few pages that I knew Alex! I had seen him on TV specials before and I had heard him on NPR. He was the African Grey who had broken barriers with his owner and friend Dr. Pepperberg. Who had shown that our special friends have brains that allow them to do more than just look cute and entertain us. Alex showed that he actually understood what people asked him and could converse. He didn't just mimic people. But this book was more than just that. I think there were three angles to this book. There is of course the story of Alex, his growth as an African Grey, the barriers he broke in animal research and how he came to break all of those barriers. Then there is the story of the relationship between Irene and Alex. So touching. Irene bought Alex as a research subject, with no intentions of becoming attached to him. But as any of us who have animals close to us know, that's not going to happen. The relationship between the two of them is just absolutely priceless and absolutely touching. I think what surprised me most about this book though, and what I really enjoyed about this book the most, was Irene Pepperberg's own story. She started her research as a woman during a time that women had to fight for everything that they wanted. When a woman got married, she was expected to hang her lab coat up and take a secretarial job at most, but she laughed at that idea. She broke many barriers and fought her way through her career and I truly loved reading her story. Kudos to her! Thanks to TLC Tours for sending me a copy of this one and letting me host it for today!

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