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Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl
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Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  6,163 ratings  ·  1,203 reviews
Written with the same heartwarming sentiment that made the memoir Marley & Me a runaway bestseller, biologist and owl expert Stacey O'Brien chronicles her rescue of an adorable, abandoned baby barn owl---and their astonishing and unprecedented nineteen-year life together.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Chrissie
I don't know if this should have 4 or 5 stars. Amazing literature - no. Amazing subject matter - yes. I do believe the author's message is correct. Anybody who believes that animals and people really can communicate with each other, can experience a very strong loving relationship with each other, should read this book. Communication and understanding does not have to occur through "talk". If you live with an animal for many years you come to understand just by looking at each other what the oth ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I LOVED this book! The author has a great sense of humor, and shares a lot of her knowledge about owls, which I found fascinating. The first few chapters are especially funny. I had to put the book down a few times just to laugh til my face hurt. You can't leave an owlet with a "babysitter," because he will screech and squawk the whole time at an ear-piercing level. So she took him with her on a first date with a guy she'd been really hot for.

Wesley was a barn owl who had nerve damage in one of
...more
Margitte
Wesley was a man. An Owl man. A hunter. A protector. A fierce protector of his missus! He demanded his story to be told. The book blurb says it all. I won't try to improve on it.



What I can add is that Wesley kept me enchanted and mesmerized. He had character and a sense of humor. He was wise, loyal and highly intelligent.

I have read this book several years ago. It was a surprising gift from an American friend and I never knew it was going to be such a great delight in my life. The book is so pre
...more
Lisa Vegan
Dec 30, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like owls, biology, nature, science, biographies, heartwarming & funny stories
When several of my Goodreads’ friends claimed that everyone would love this book, I assumed that statement was hyperbole, even though I was interested in reading it, but now I see why they said that. I’m sure there are many readers who, in fact, would not like this book, but I think most people will appreciate and be smitten by it. I’m surprised that there aren’t more 5 star ratings at Goodreads; only 33% gave it 5 stars and only another 37% gave it 4 stars. I loved it and it definitely deserves ...more
Caroline
******NO SPOILERS******

For nineteen years, Stacey O’Brien cared for an unlikely pet: a barn owl whose injured wing meant he never would be able to thrive in the wild. This is a heartwarming, amusing, and most of all, fascinating account of one biologist’s experience studying a wild owl in the closest way possible--by sharing her own home (and oftentimes pillow) with it over the course of its entire lifespan. The experience affected her profoundly.

Even for readers not especially interested in ow
...more
Bonnie
Wesley the Owl: the story of biologist Stacey O'Brien and her adoption of a 4 day old baby barn owl. The book is a retelling of the 19 years spent caring and loving for this animal and of the love and bond the two of them shared.

My favorite line from this book:

'Live your life not by staying in the shallow, safer waters, but by wading as deep into the river of life as possible, no matter how dangerous the current. We have only one chance at this life.'

I have this abnormally large soft spot in my
...more
JC
I started this book one night intending to read just the first chapter before bed. I had to force myself to put it down at chapter six lest I miss out on a good night's sleep!

I've never been a bird person, but O'Brien's heartwarming account of her life with Wesley the Owl may make me a convert...for owls at least. O'Brien mixes scientific fact with personal anecdote in a way that is clear and compelling. By the end, you feel like you've learned something about owls, but most of all, you'll have
...more
Ginny Messina
I loved reading about Stacey O’Brien’s experience in raising a barn owl. And, I learned a great deal about owls and about the challenges of living with an animal whose wild instincts can never be completely tamed.

The writing is not great, and sometimes it’s actually pretty bad, especially when the author recreates dialog. In some cases conversations are so awkwardly placed in an obvious attempt to make a particular point, that they sound like a very low-budget public service announcement. And t
...more
Doug Bradshaw
It's easy to think of animals as simple creatures with various survival instincts built into their systems, certainly not capable of much more than eating, mating and surviving in their various habitats. But raise a baby owl and live full time with it and become its virtual mate, and it becomes apparent that there's way more going on in their brains and lives than imaginable. In fact, this owl Wesley communicates with the wonderful Stacey in almost every imaginable way including love, warmth, pr ...more
Mark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane D.
Jan 11, 2012 Diane D. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal lovers
Recommended to Diane D. by: Lisa Vegan
A big thank you to one of my reading buddies, Lisa V, and others on Comfort Reads for suggesting I read this book. It was so wonderful that I need a few days before I can start another book.

Wesley is a 4 day old baby barn owl suffering nerve damage to one of his wings, hence he is unable to survive in his natural surroundings in the wild. Fortunately for Wesley he 'lands' at Caltech after being found on the ground by hikers. From Caltech, he is taken home by one of the biologists, Stacey O'Brie
...more
Caroline
Okay, one thing I’ve learnt from this book is that if you want to adopt an owl it’s best to be a biologist, and experienced with working with birds, and be prepared to go to any lengths to keep it happy. Stacey was all of these things.

Wesley developed from being a fluffy ball of cuteness into being a fully mature adult male owl. He saw Stacey as his mate (in every sense of the word), and he really didn’t like other people very much at all. He was utterly endearing with Stacey though, giving her
...more
Donnaleigh
Wow, wow, wow. This is one of those books which, after you have completed it, you need a bit of recovery time to come back to the real world. This is so well written, and such a touching memoir. The author's dedication to this little guy for 19 years is outstanding. The synchronicities that happen in the author's life, those odd coincidences that seem to pop up with great meaning, are equally amazing and speak to the author's spiritual nature (this is not a religious book by any means, but the a ...more
carlie
I picked this book up because of the adorable picture on the cover. The title didn't give me much hope that it would be good, but I was pleasently supprised.
The star of the book is Wesley, a smart barn owl who's antics were a joy to read. From the first moment the author sees the helpless baby she fell in love , and in reading along, so did I.
I found myself continually stoping to share both odd scientific facts I was learning, as well as beautiful pictures of Wesley scattered throughout the b
...more
Lance Greenfield
Enchanting

There are already hundreds of reviews of this book on Goodreads, so I shan’t repeat the storyline for you. However, for those of you who have any feeling for the amazing stories of relationships between animals and humans, this is a “must read.”

Stacey and Wesley live their lives together from the time that the owl is four days old. They form such a very strong relationship that they converse with each other, and share each other’s emotions, happy and sad. The story is beautifully narra
...more
Virginie
Mar 27, 2010 Virginie marked it as to-read
Ohhhhh, I love owls so much !!!!! Especially barn owls !!!!I want to buy this.....
Caris
There’s always a part of me that feels kind of bad about disliking a memoir. When I’ve read the story of someone’s life, I’ve, in many ways, experienced their highs and lows. For me, it’s especially difficult to not be able to empathize with the painful parts. And that’s only complicated when I don’t necessarily dislike the book itself. I dislike Stacey O’Brien.

She has certainly done a great deal in her time spent on this planet. And her selflessness in dedicating herself to something as high ma
...more
Tamora Pierce
This is the story of a girl and her owl. How could I resist? Stacy O'Brien was working in the Caltech biolabs when she was offered the chance to rear and report on a baby barn owl who had nerve damage in one wing and was not likely to survive in the wild. She hadn't done owls before, but she was more than willing to try, and took in the three-day-old owlet she named Wesley. She was in her early twenties.

The book is not only a series of funny anecdotes about life with an intelligent and proprieta
...more
Lee
I started reading this on the recommendation of several animal loving friends. I must admit to feeling some trepidation after reading a blurb about the thousands of mice the author had to kill in order to feed Wesley over an almost 20 year period. However, I was definitely interested in knowing more about these beautiful and mysterious, nocturnal creatures.

The author writes with an engaging and very readable style. Her anecdotes of daily life with a newly adopted 4 day old, orphaned and nerve da
...more
Julie
I just read this book in a few hours...I have been sick in bed all day with nothing else to do, and it was impossible to put down.
Not only is it just a cute story of an owl and his girl, but a learning experience because she is a biologist, and adopted Wesley to get to observe barn owl behavior first hand.
I just love when a book teaches me things, especially about animals. And I think one of her main points was to show that animals of all sorts have emotions that are sometimes even more sensitiv
...more
Lynn Wilson
Jul 13, 2009 Lynn Wilson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers, biologists and naturalists
What a wonderful surprise this book was. I picked it up because I saw the cover in the bookstore window (thank you Elliott Bay) and it turned out to be one of those "could not put it down" books. As the title states it really is a love story, a remarkable one, between the author and a barn owl that she rescued and raised. This is not a feat to be undertaken lightly. O'Brien is a biologist and was working in an owl research facility at the time. Her nineteen year life with Wesley is a heart-warmi ...more
Neel
This was a very interesting story of love, caring, intimacy, deep bond, attachement etc. and astrange and weird events that happened between the author and an owl. Though it's very strange how she became so brave to kill thousands of mice in such a brutal way to feed a single soul out of love, specilally who was regretted days seeing her mom flushed a spider in toilet bowl. But I really enjoyed reading it.Thanks, Renee.
Kelly
A very cute story. I learned a lot about owls I never knew before, and the pictures were great.
Downsides? This woman is a nutjob, and she had a serious case of needing a real editor (not just her musician friend). The word "galumphing" was used about eighteen thousand times, and sometimes the digressions she made were unnecessary. Alas, for good mindless reading, this one is a quick and unique true story.
Marissa
oh my dear god, this book is adorable. just adorable.
Jessie (saxgrl1)
I was a little hesitant to read this book. I work at a wildlife rehabilitation center and I've seen some awful things that people have done wild animals that they tried to take care of. I've also worried that this book might give people the go-ahead to try and raise owls themselves. While the author does mention Author's Note that it is illegal to take care of any bird (or wild animal), that point seems to be lost in the rest of the book. On the other hand, I think some people may see the intens ...more
Rebecca
Absoloutely amazing. That is all I can say when I think of this book.
I found it in a kindle sale and thought it sounded like a cute little book to pass the time. I did not expect it to be full of emotion, that at points made me keel over with laughter or muffle my sobs with a pillow.
The book explored the relationship and growth between the author and her lovely owl Wesley, highlighting their trust and love. I was amazed and awed by some of the things they achieved together. Between the laugh o
...more
Christi
I have a soft spot for owls. So, when I came across Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl in the bookstore, of course I had to read it!

It's a love story that begins on Valentine’s Day in 1985, when CalTech biologist Stacey O’Brien adopts a four-day-old barn owl, named Wesley. Wesley had nerve damage in one of his wings and would never survive in the wild alone. For nineteen years, she and Wesley lived together (barn owls in the wild live an average of four years). Alon
...more
Laura
This was a recommendation from Mom, who always enjoys a good heartwarming animal story. It's the true story of the time the author adopted an orphaned owl, and holy CRAP is that owl ever adorable (all heartwarming animal stories worth their salt involve photos of the animal in question; this book is worth its salt). It's not the most well-written book I've ever read (although it's no DaVinci Code), but it's amazing in its details. O'Brien describes Wesley's (at first I typed "Westley", as in The ...more
Christina
To that which you tame, you owe your life.
When I was a kid, my father had owls in some small aviaries in our garden. I remember the great horned owls the best but since then I've been fascinated by all kinds of owls - and it's kind of a family thing that I'm trying to pass one to my daughters as well. And so far my oldest daughter - at two years old - loves her owl pajamas!
So when I heard about this book about a woman living together with an owl for 19 years, I was intrigued. And very fittingly,
...more
Grace
Where do I begin? I've read other "pet memoirs", but none as memorable as _Wesley the Owl_. The difference? Not only is Wesley a remarkable creature, but his owner, author Stacey O'Brien, is an intelligent biologist who takes the time to explain not only the adorable things Wesley does, but why they are remarkable in a larger scientific perspective. Although sometimes she does seem to go off on a tangent, waxing enthusiastic about this or that scientific study, she writes in such an easy-to-foll ...more
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“Wesley taught me the Way of the Owl. In the human world your value as a person is often intrinsically linked to your wealth or most recent accomplishment. But all the accoutrements of the world were stripped away from me when I got sick. Welsey made me realize that if all I had to give was love, that was enough. I didn't need money, status, accomplishment, glamour or many of the empty things we so value.” 9 likes
“Wesley went everywhere with me from then on. I even wrapped him in baby blankets and held him in my arms while grocery shopping, to keep him warm during the first cold winter. Occasionally someone would ask to see "the baby," and when I opened the blanket, would leap back shrieking, "What is that?! A dinosaur?" Apparently, the world is full of educated adults with mortgages and stock portfolios who think people are walking around grocery stores with dinosaurs in their arms.” 8 likes
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