Go Ahead. Love Your Planet. Just Not Too Much.
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More About This Title Birdbrain


Ed Abbey meets Tom Robbins meets John Irving meets Vine Deloria meets Barbara Kingsolver while Rachel Carson birdwatches in the front yard.
Think of it as a chronicle of the American environmental movement circa late 1970′s-80′s through the eyes of an innocent but partying young country girl who has suppressed so much while waiting for her working class guy to get a clue…

It’s accidentally gazing at an eastern bluebird that cracks the thin veneer of her life, finally jolting her out of a marriage-induced lobotomy to the realization that the world doesn’t end at her skin. Life bashes her around a bit which releases her intellectual tendencies, pissing off her rural friends–”Drink Another Beer! Enjoy the Barbecue! Lighten Up!” The more interested she becomes in nature, political causes, maybe attending college, i.e. adventuring out of the womb of her rural Michigan, the more maligned she feels from her family and friends, especially Patty, her life-long best friend. Will their friendship survive all the changes (they are both going through)?

Of course, for those of us who love the land of our country, at some point, like Ellie, we dare to question the tendency of our own species to bulldoze its own planet. There was a lot going on at this time. Ellie is further transformed as she dives ever deeper into the world of ecology, then she meets Kate who she could become and nobody likes Kate. Kate is always pissed off. Adding to the turmoil are colossal losses she has little idea how to deal with. Ellie leaves “Shake” to undertake some kind of pilgrimage, a subconscious attempt to heal herself but her feeling of alienation does not abate simply because she changes her geography. Her taking to the road makes for a very ‘biodiverse’ set of experiences, from roaming spirits in the desert, gnatcatchers in California, accidental crusades against development, ascending tufas at Mono Lake courtesy of a native Miwok/Paiute BLM park ranger, to dancing cowboys and hoodoos in Wyoming, not to mention those sympathetic truckers on I-8O. In addition to being humorous, birds and ecological science are woven throughout the novel so you may just learn something.

The novel is based on the real-life experiences of Virginia who has been a professional field biologist for over 20 years. Virginia grew up in Ohio where she watched everything around her get bulldozed out of existence. She did the trip west, the one we all do sooner or later, only to see the same thing happening in the west. Are we at a point now where it’s too late and denial is our only (perceived) protection?


Professional ecologist and conservationist of over three decades. Her writing is derived/influenced heavily from her experience and knowledge as a professional ecologist.


"She was busting, painfully, it seemed, from her own skin to overlap with the soil, the sky, the birds, the plants; an awareness on which no price can be placed but for which a price must be paid." Birdbrain, Virginia Arthur