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One Bird's Choice: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twenty-Something Who Moves Back Home
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One Bird's Choice: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twenty-Something Who Moves Back Home

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Meet Iain Reid: an overeducated, underemployed twenty-something, living in the big city in a bug-filled basement apartment and struggling to make ends meet. When Iain lands a job at a radio station near his childhood home, he decides to take it. But the work is only part time, so he is forced to move back in with his lovable but eccentric parents on their hobby farm. What ...more
ebook, 264 pages
Published May 29th 2011 by House of Anansi Press (first published September 11th 2010)
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The subtitle says it all in a nutshell: a year in the life of an overeducated, underemployed twenty-something who moves back home.

On the back cover describes Iain Reid's "One Bird's Choice" as "a hilarious and heartwarming memoir that bridges the divide between the boomer and boomerang generations."

You know what that made me think of?

This passage from the book, where Reid is reading out some of the "funny" material that he's been working on to a friend:

Here's the thing: if something actually
Doriana Bisegna
While at the Kingston Writers Fest, I discovered a new author who has written two books about the most mundane subject matter...moving back home and a holiday with his grandmother spent in his basement apartment for a week. After listening to him talk about his book The Truth About Luck, I knew that I was hooked. One Bird's Choice (his first book) is a total laugh fest and a real treat to read. He recounts the year he spent at his family's farm in Ontario amongst every kind of livestock and dome ...more
Luanne Ollivier
As Thomas Wolfe said " You can't go home again." Or can you? Iain Reid is 27, highly educated and highly unemployed. He accepts a summer job with CBC radio. But it really doesn't pay a lot....and his parents live very close the decision is made to move in with them for the summer. The summer comes and goes ...and before you know it - a year has passed.

One Bird's Choice is the memoir of that year. What struck me first was Iain's descriptions of his parents, their conversation, actions a
Jennifer D
Jan 25, 2011 Jennifer D rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers, animal lovers, hobby farm enthusiasts
Recommended to Jennifer by: House of Anansi and Groundwood Books
The subtitle, for this work of non-fiction is: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twenty-Something Who Moves Back Home. From this, I think, people are going to jump one of two ways in assessing a book by its cover. People might think "Oh great! Another indulged kid, under thirty, likely with an arts degree can't get it together in the real world so runs home to mommy and daddy!" Some of this is true. He does have an arts degree (Queen's University) and he is indulged, by his pa ...more
Iain Reid would never in a million years consider being “one of those guys.” You know the ones, they’re out of school with no real job or ambition and back living with their parents. Suddenly, and almost without warning, he’s back with his parents at their farm tending the animals and working at a local radio station a couple days a week. With nearly no plans for the future and dwindling prospects at his current job will Iain’s summer stay at Mom & Dad’s turn into something more permanent? I ...more
I just finished reading One Bird's Choice on recommendation from a friend. It’s about a 27 year old University graduate moving back home to his parent’s hobby farm for the first time since high school. What starts as a few week plan, turns into a really funny full year. The book takes you through the 4 seasons and the eccentric routines that come from living on a farm - from fighting off hens in the chicken coop, to helping sheep give birth, to making sure the 2 dogs and 3 cats are happy and hea ...more
Gemma Alexander
One Bird’s Choice is about moving back home for a year of semi-employment to regroup when the writing thing wasn’t really working out. Unlike many millennials, Reid is old enough to be embarrassed about living with his parents, so he can see the humor in the situation, and because he’s a good writer, he doesn’t spare himself at all. He can admit to playing to win in a hockey game against third graders, playing the role of village idiot at Christmas (“How are things at NASA? Did you know Iain is ...more
Samantha Janning
While I don’t usually read memoirs, One Bird’s Choice by Iain Reid was recommended to me from a friend, so I decided to give it a try. Iain describes himself as “an overeducated, underemployed twenty-something, living in the big city in a bug-filled basement apartment and struggling to make ends meet.” He finds part-time employment at a radio station near his parent’s home, and decides to bite the bullet and move in with them to help save money. While Iain was hoping for a temporary move, his st ...more
With a degree under his belt, Iain Reid is on the hunt for a job. When he gets an offer from CBC radio, he jumps at the opportunity. But, because it’s only a part-time job, he moves back to his family’s farm in order to save on living expenses.

One Bird’s Choice is a memoir of Iain’s time with his parents – finding himself back in his childhood room, interacting with his parents, settling into a retirement lifestyle while his friends are partying in big cities or well on their way to superstar ca
Mixed feelings about this one, for a number of reasons. First, I sometimes felt that Iain was really whiny and he bothered me. This is the story of a 27-year-old who moves home to his parents' farm for a year. I sometimes related to how he felt about his parents and how he portrayed them, and sometimes I felt he was being a bit harsh. (However, the scene where his mom gets a computer was so true that I felt myself nodding)

The book also affected me because of how much I related to it. When I was
Eliza Fayle
I am sure a number of us have experienced this. You think your offspring have left the house for good, then SPROING they are back. Do a Google search on Boomerang Generation and you will get a lot of helpful articles on how to adjust to your kids returning home, what to expect, what you might be thinking and feeling, etcetera, etcetera.

But what is like from the perspective of the returning young adult? One Bird’s Choice gives us that perspective.

There is zero sense of entitlement attitude in One
Shelf Magazine
Cross James Herriot’s tales of bucolic British life with Mike Myers’ comedic portrayal of his
Scottish Canadian family in the film So I Married an Axe Murderer and you end up with Iain Reid’s hilarious memoir One Bird’s Life. After graduating from college and finding himself unable to earn a living in Toronto as a freelance writer, Reid decides to move home to his parent’s farm when he lands a part-time job writing and reading book reviews for a local radio station. He makes enemies with chickens
Recommended to me. I liked it and I raced through it because it is lightly written with a light story of a 20 something moving home after a slow career start. Home is on a mini farm.
Kelly Pratt
It wasn't totally what I expected however it was generally a good read. The author comes across as a bit self-indulgent however it sounds like he had a better understanding and appreciation of his parents after his time in close proximity with them.
J. E.  Hewitt
I loved this one. I started reading it kind of as if I was doing homework because I knew I was about to meet the author at the Eden Mills Festival where I was invited to read this year - but, once I started it I was hooked. It is an autobiographical account of the author's year living at home with his parents. So subtly funny, poignant, and insightful. I say subtle but I frequently laughed out loud. A very easy, fun read! And, when I met Iain, it was clear that yes he is just as he represents hi ...more
This is my second Iain Reid novel (I got hooked after his travels with grandma in Kingston) - and I was just as pleased with this one!
A great, light read about a 20 something who moves back with his lovely parents and their menagerie of animals. Great laugh out loud moments and lots of wistful images of a simple farm life with Iain's own undercurrent of anxiety and constant uncertainty of where his life is headed.
Being from Ottawa and actually having his father as a professor (!!!) this furthe
love the wit in this book, just fabulous!
To be honest this was sort of a mediocre book for me. While I definitely commiserated with the author in some situations, I felt like he was unfairly critical of his parents, especially since he was the one who moved in with them. He also has a tendency to view the world through a lens where nothing is his fault, circumstance has put him there and there is nothing he can do.

Towards the end of the book his perspective changes somewhat, but not in a significant enough way to make it memorable.

I read this before I went away on vacation and I remember really quite liking this book, however, now when trying to recall all the little bits that helped to make this such a sweet read, I'm having a difficult time. But it was sweet and likable and I loved Iain's doting parents and would imagine that moving back home and trying to figure out what to do with your life and how to grow up would be a similar experience. Probably pre-vacation this would have gotten a 4, now I'm dropping it to a 3.
Jennifer Whiteford
I read with Iain Reid here in Ottawa a few months ago and really loved the excerpts he read from this book. It took a while for it to come up on my library holds list, and I ended up reading it just as I happened to be moving back in with my own parents for a few months while my husband and I have a house built for us. I found this book gentle, funny, and evocative. Such great stories about the realities of being an adult at "home" with your parents. I made my mom read it, too.
Rachel Brown
Loved this book! It was a funny, heartwarming look at family and at growing up
A laugh out loud, been there read !!! I could feel his pain ....

From my book review blog Rundpinne...."One Bird’s Choice is a relaxed memoir, filled with quaint moments, some funny anecdotes, and not a lot more. Based on what I had read I expected the book to be hilarious, and it quite possibly is to another demographic."...My full review may be read here.
I really enjoyed reading this book about a lost twenty-something moving back to his parents' farm for a year. I loved his quirky parents and was hoping for a life-changing experience other than -- he took a year off and wrote a book about his quirky parents. Still, a nice read that made me want to move to his parents' farm for a year to contemplate life away from all the pressures and be embracesd by his very warm and loving parents ;)
a good airplane read, funny and quick.
Sheryl Y
The first time I read this book, I finished it in 3 days. And I was so sad that it was over that I decided to read it again. Meaning, I read the book twice in one week. Some of the reasons why I couldn't stop reading this book were because I found Iain's tales so funny and I could relate to the author's situation. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a casual novel that can make one laugh. Great book!
Apr 03, 2011 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Jen Knoch
A lovely memoir. Reflective but never self absorbed. A pleasure to read. Reid is an engaging, appealing narrator. I read this book while my car was repaired and the several hour wait passed in a snap. Especially recommended for twentysomethings who worry they're not living up to their potential. Reid's memoir is evidence you're not alone.
Reid's writing is lighthearted and funny but I'm not sure this was really memoir material. The book was relatable and the storytelling was enjoyable but I didn't really feel like there was much of a story to tell and never found myself aching to sit down and read more. I would read more of Reid's work if he focused on fiction.
I gave this book four stars simply because it was a page turner. The author's humorous observations and anecdotes kept it light and enjoyable. I think this topic is very relevant, and Iain does an excellent job of sharing a common experience of 20-somethings in an interesting way.
I found that this memoir moved along very slowly and I had trouble identifying with the main character. I finally did finish it and had a better impression of the book once I had. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the author and his parents. Still, I wouldn't read it again.
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Iain Reid is the author of the critically acclaimed comic memoir One Bird's Choice, which won the CBC Bookie Award for Best Nonfiction Book. His writing has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online in publications such as the Globe and Mail, Reader's Digest, and The Classical. He writes regularly about books and writing for the National Post. His work has also appeared on CBC Radio and NPR. H ...more
More about Iain Reid...
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