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Catherine Goldhammer - Still Life With Chickens: Starting over in a House by the Sea

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A mother promises chickens to her daughter... and delivers (">

Aug 19, 2007
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Real life story, with GOOD information about raising chickens for those considering a chicken hobby.

Cons:Not a fantastic story overall, but one which is certain to reward chicken people everywhere.

The Bottom Line: Have a child who's been begging to have some chickens? have them read this book FIRST. An account of how Mom ends up with all chicken rearing responsibilities.


Catherine Goldhammer delivers a wonderful insight into the world of suburban poultry ownership and the magic such a pass time can bring to all ages.

When I looked up the DVD Regarding Chickens on Amazon, this book always appeared as a recommended selection directly beneath the listing. Finally, I purchased this charming book out of pure happenstance and curiosity.

As a poultry enthusiast for many years, I’m skeptical as to how chickens will be described and expect authors, based on my past reading experience, to make some fundamental mistakes in their descriptions.

Catherine Goldhammers’ situation/memoir is probably familiar to thousands of fractured families across the United States today. She describes “hearts are cold” as the location of her departed residence and embarks on a less pretentious life along the east coast in a serious handy-man-special of a home.

For me, Catherine’s daughter is the star of the memoir account… like so many teens today, longing for pets of all sorts, intelligent and taking every advantage of online information. Rather than simply happening upon some cute chicks, the daughter does her research and is truly prepared to accept chickens into their suburban life style. The author goes into great detail, even describing the contents of the Nation’s largest rare breed hatchery’s catalog of feathered wonders. A mother, recently parted from her husband in an amicable divorce, is trapped by the desire to distract her only daughter, and against her better judgment, allows chickens to become the latest pets in their home. Guilt from the divorce, causes Catherine to say yes, when she would have otherwise simply closed the idea of her daughter having chickens of all things.

Overall, the book describes fairly predictable struggles and challenges one expects when starting over as a divorced parent. The charm is of course, the chickens and how they become the mother’s much needed distraction. The daughter was the expert in the beginning and the mother becomes chicken tender by proxy and by the end of the book, is quite adept at poultry management.

If you’re looking for a profound read, a stand alone memoir which would warmly connect you with the author? This book didn’t do it for me… however, if you have an interest in chickens, want an intriguing little story which weaves truly good chicken raising advise into an interesting mother-daughter dynamic, this is your book!

I could foresee a bright, animal loving teenager, truly enjoying this book. It’s a quick and easy read, important to someone who wants for entertainment while learning how to properly raise and care for a few chickens. For visual learners… I still go for the DVD Regarding Chickens… but am glad I happened upon this cute and informative account of how something as simple as a few chickens, can truly provide an emotional healing as they distract from the daily challenges one simply must get through!

From "hearts are cold" to coops are warm, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


Recommend this product? Yes

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