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Bite Me: A Parrot, A Family and a Whole Lot of Flesh Wounds

Bite Me: A Parrot, A Family and a Whole Lot of Flesh Wounds

A Memoir

Formerly titled “Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me”

A gift from an overseas relative, Graycie, an African Grey parrot, arrives in the Gardiner home not long after the birth of their first child, adding the responsibilities of parrot-hood to their newfound parenthood. Jenny Gardiner and her husband were hoping for a docile, beautifully plumed, Polly-want-a-cracker type of companion—but patchily feathered, scrawny, ill-tempered Graycie was the furthest thing from what they envisioned.

In Bite Me, Gardiner shares in vivid and hilarious detail the many hazards of parrot ownership, from endless avian latrine duty to discovering the multiple ways a beak can pierce human flesh. Whether she’s swearing at the dog, mimicking the sound of the smoke alarm, or bobbing to the beat of the kids clapping for her amusement, she brings the family joy, laughter, and, sometimes, tears. So why would the Gardiners subject themselves to the crazy behavior of this parrot for so long? Well, because, as the Gardiners realize, Graycie is a part of the family, and just like in any relationship between living creatures, things do not always go according to plan.

A mix of hilarious pet hijinks and a poignant story of family commitment, Bite Me (originally titled Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who’s Determined to Kill Me) is a reminder of the importance of patience, loyalty, and humor when it comes to dealing with even the most temperamental members of the family.