The Chicken Chronicles by Alice Walker

45 in my 2011 book blogging challenge.

The Chicken Chronicles is a short and sweet little book, beautifully done. Alice Walker talks about the life of a chicken keeper as no one else can. She is, in fact, talking to the chickens in this book. The reader is just an outside observer.

We get to see her love for her chickens as we learn a collection of facts about chickens and how they are treated around the world. We get to see the peace and the joy her chickens brings her — not to mention the eggs. We get to see the humor and her frustration. Alice Walker is surprised, for example, when her “roosters” lay eggs. She is also surprised when one of her hens begins to bully another and when she is unable to save them all from random tragedy, from hawks and accidents like someone slamming a door on a chicken’s head.

We get to share her concerns. How does she offer the chickens some freedom and keep them safe at the same time?

The book is both meditation and love letter. It is full a surprisingly tender moments such as Alice sitting in her garden with a chicken in her lap.

At times it goes a little annoyingly overboard. She refers to herself as Mommy when addressing the chickens. I find that annoying when people are referring to dogs and cats. You are not your cat’s mommy. I’m sorry, but no, you are not. When Alice Walker refers to herself as mommy to chickens, I just find it absurd. Still, I’m touched by her love for the birds.

I’m also impressed with her master craftsmanship. Lest we forget, Alice Walker is a woman of remarkable letters, and you will know you are in the presence of someone remarkable when you read this book. This is a quick read, and for the sheer awe of hearing Alice Walker speak through its pages, it is worth the price. I loved every minute of it, annoying bits included.

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