Book review: Ruminations on a Parrot Named Cosmo by Betty Jean Craige

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Pub date April 15, 2021

ISBN 978-1890932510

Price $22.95 (USD) Hardcover

Book excerpt

With wit and perception, Craige, Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia and author of several academic and non-academic books, explores the loving, complicated territory inhabited in her life by her pet African Grey Parrot, Cosmo. Craige adopted Cosmo at 5-month-old, and soon it became an integral part of her life. Within the next few months, Cosmo learned to talk and started communicating with Craige and other people. Craige’s love for Cosmo is apparent in the pages: it’s with great care and passion of a truly smitten that she describes Cosmo’s birdie antics and occasional mischiefs while exploring their enduring bond. And in doing so, she delivers a soulful tale of love, attachment, responsibility, dependence, and happiness. Along the way, she reflects on parrots’ anatomy, birds’ evolution from dinosaurs, and the interdependence of all Earth’s living organisms. Drawing from her own experience, she talks about the evidence of consciousness in birds and mammals and the similarities in mental life between humans and non-human animals. By turns mischievous and somber, Cosmo comes out as irresistible. Craige’s account is as intellectually evocative as it is psychologically meaningful. Lovers of literary fiction will be delighted.


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