Man versus Rooster

A memoir by award winning journalist and Boston Globe writer Brian McGrory, Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man is a moving and funny account of one man's journey from bachelor to husband and stepfather, aided by a menagerie of pets - including a cute baby chick who turned out to be a rooster. As a self-proclaimed animal lover, I found myself shedding a tear one minute and snorting with laughter the next as I read about the author's transition from a city dwelling, globetrotting single guy to a life in the suburbs as a family man. The first part of the book talks about Brian's relationship with his first dog Harry, a beautiful Golden Retriever. It is moving and tender, and I think possibly the best part of the book. Though sad, the end of Harry's life is the beginning of Brian's relationship with Pam and her daughters and everything that entails. Pam is Harry's veterinarian and is with him as he makes the heart wrenching decision to put Harry down. She falls in love with Brian as she helps him cope with the loss of his beloved pet. Their relationship builds over time, and soon they make the decision to buy a house together in the suburbs of Boston.

Gone is the single life, and Brian must gain a new understanding of his role in this blended family that includes a new wife, her daughters, and numerous animals - including Buddy the rooster. While Buddy loves the women of the house, he views Brian's presence as competition, doing everything he can to drive out his rival. Pam and the girls adore Buddy and call him "Boo Boo". Brian, on the other hand, describes him as; "Gone was the demure, hen-like creature with the soft rounded head and tentative gait. In its place was a mini-monster with a broad chest, a cherry-red comb sprouting atop its snow-white face, and a walk that oozed the kind of confidence a star lineman would have on his way across the field before the big game." After enduring menacing stares, threatening pecks, and sneak attacks, Brian eventually sees that Buddy shares the kind of extraordinary relationship with Pam and her two girls that he wants for himself. To me, the overall message in this memoir is that marriage, love and, especially, stepparenting is hard, and animals have a lot to teach us about what truly unconditional love really means.

 

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