Gilmour, Charlie

  13 Reviews

If it wasn't for the letter 'e', featherhood would be read as fatherhood, and in this delightful juxtaposition of birds and fathers, English journalist Charlie Gilmour is able to weave together these most unlikely of pairings.

As the beloved stepson of a well-known musician and son of an English poet, Charlie has plenty to ponder when it comes to the importance of fatherhood. However, it is his own (and his partner's) involvement with a wild magpie that encourages this honest and poignant examination of his life and heritage.

A gripping and unusual memoir that combines nature writing with courageous introspection. [Larger font]



WELL 209
It was hard to believe this was all real! As a memoir, this book was a real discussion-generator - we had wide-ranging views. Some thought it wonderfully written; others that it was tedious in parts. The magpie was unreal, and Heathcotes story was extraordinary people had looked him up - affirming his eccentricity and yet success. The real heroes were Charlies mother, his Dad, David, and wonderful partner Yana. We all agreed they were a tour de force of unconditional love and support. So much so that Charlie ultimately acknowledged nurture as clearly outdoing nature. Recommended.
We all enjoyed this book and loved his descriptive style of writing. We thought the author was very honest about his past and his relationships but much preferred reading about the magpie rather than his father who seemed to us to be an irresponsible deadbeat.
Most readers were not impressed with the book. Some gave up early as they did not enjoy the text or concept. Others persevered and found the family dynamics interesting.
Book examined the biological parent/child relationship. But on the whole a rather disappointing read! Did not live up to the review comments on the book cover.
There was so much in this memoir - human and bird relationships, mental health, bird behaviour and wonderful prose. Comments from this group included - liked the magpie but thought the relationships grim and sad; loved the writing; enjoyed the bird relationship with the writer. The book notes effectively explained the memoir and the RNZ reference to an interview, which was helpful for the discussion.
Some members were less enthusiastic than others about this book, but we were intrigued by the bird and the eccentric characters and their relationship with each other; and it all led to interesting discussion. Good notes.
THAM 002
Interesting memoir - especially when we googled who his stepfather was. Most, but not all, really enjoyed it and the bird-rearing experiences.
RUSS 004
Everyone enjoyed this book. Well-written and an interesting story.
The group generally enjoyed 'Featherhood' but found it to be very strange in parts. Some were repelled (most) at the filth of the bird in the house eg. the bird's food and droppings everywhere. Also Heathcote's peeing in his room etc. etc. However we all agreed that Gilmore's writing was wonderful. His similes were vivid and unique. We are interested in what happens now with his great writing talents.
CHCH 481
Well-written; an unexpectedly high rating surprise from our discerning readers. Divisive - scores from 3-5. Everyone finished it. A vivid insight into psychosis.
CHCH 532
This book stimulated a very in depth conversation. A fascinating picture of dependence.
We enjoyed this young man's exploration of his relationships; especially with his estranged father interlinked with the author's caring of an orphaned magpie. We found it interesting on the whole, fascinating in part, perhaps a bit self-indulgent at times. Mostly we found Gilmour a candid and vividly impressive writer, astonishing given his age. A few readers didn't buy the story - found it mostly unbelievable until it was pointed out to them, it was non-fiction. The magpie story is first-class, intensely interesting and intelligent animal. We all enjoyed the book and were pleased we'd read it.
AUCK 143
After discussion, which was lengthy and lively, some of the group most appreciated the exquisite language of the book. Some were a little more cynical about how much dramatic licence had been used. Overall the majority found the book informative and interesting.