Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Love and Ordinary Creatures by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

This is not your average love story, or even your average pet story. It's no Marley and Me, Incredible Journey, or any of the movies and books that claim to be from the point of view of a pet -- at least not from the point of view of the parrot in this book. It's not a "One day I hope to be the person my dog thinks I am", either, as the humans involved vastly underestimate the thought process and intelligence of the particular bird involved. From the human viewpoint, it was a whole lot less complex, but the reader is only treated to that p.o.v. via overheard conversations between human characters.

Caruso is one of the most passionate central characters to grace the pages between book covers in a while. That he happens to be a parrot doesn't lessen the intensity of the story. Set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in the 1990's, Caruso's world is centered on Clarissa, with whom he now lives, and who he loves desperately. He learned about love, albeit obsessive love, from his previous owner, whose heart never relinquished its hold on a childhood sweetheart, loved and lost. How this translates into the obsessive love Caruso carries for Clarissa, how his world shakes and tilts when Clarissa begins a relationship with a man, and how life resolves it all play out a large part of the book. Another another piece of the book intermingles descriptions of Caruso's memories of life in the wild, the world he was snatched from at a tender age, giving the  story a different depth.

There were parts of this book that just grabbed me by the attention horns, and wouldn't let go -- until they did let go, and I found my mind wandering until the next phrase, or scene, or glimmering thought grabbed me again. This is a deeply passionate story.  I've rounded up to a 7/10 star because of those moments that caught me in a snare. Thank you LibraryThing and Ashland Creek Press for sending a copy along to me.

Tags: early-review-librarything, read, set-in-the-south, taught-me-something

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