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Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,191 ratings  ·  277 reviews
Award-winning journalist Brian McGrory goes head to beak in a battle royale with another male for a top-spot in his home, vying for dominance with the family’s pet rooster. 
   Brian McGrory's life changed drastically after the death of his beloved dog, Harry: he fell in love with Pam, Harry's veterinarian. Though Brian’s only responsibility used to be his adored Harry, Pam
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Crown (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.59  · 
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 ·  1,191 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Maybe I'm a bit prejudiced, having grown up on James Herriot, but Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man was a let down. I went into this book with high hopes for humor and heartwarming stories. What I got was a hodge-podge of information, not necessarily in chronological order, that was only slightly touching and humorous, but more often irritating.

Personally, I feel that the best part of this book what the part that had nothing to do with the rooster. The first fourth of the book is about a
Oct 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
I received this book from Goodreads after winning one of their give aways. If not for that, I may not have finished it.

While the title of this book implies it is about a rooster, it really is more of mid-life autobiography of Brian McGrory. The first part of the book describes Brian’s life with his dog after his divorce while living in Boston. The book continues, describing how Brian begins to date his veterinarian, Pam, who lives in the suburbs, and happens to become the owner of a rooster. The
Kath McStay
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I do not, I absolutely do not read books about animals. Am I an animal hater? Far From it. I love animals. Pretty much all animals are on my favorites list. Currently there are four cats and a dog in my home. My fur kids are aways rescues. I adore them all. I have had other dogs, other cats, a few rabbits, and the poor chameleon and ill fated mouse. I have been known to dress down folks I see mistreating animals or allowing them to be in harms way. I
Aug 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
I have had this book on my to be read pile for a while. This is one book where I was really looking forward to reading this book. I used to raise chickens and turkeys. For a brief time we even had a rooster. Yet he went to a good home as living close to neighbors is not always a good mix. Plus, my dad did not enjoy being woken up by the crowing of the rooster. I loved my chickens. In addition, it has been a long while since I have read a good chicken story.

Sadly, this book was not what I was lo
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
I did have a very hard time believing that a vet wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a hen and a rooster without a blood test. Especially beings the rooster in question was a White Plymouth Rock.
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. I expected to be rooting for Brian and his new family based on the premise of the book - a city-dwelling bachelor becoming a suburban family man via his vet and her two daughters. But honestly while I enjoyed and related to Brian's relationship with his dog Harry at the beginning of the book, after that part I felt it was lacking in substance as well as any likable characters. Brian had continued angst about moving from Boston to the suburbs. Living in the city on his own clearly ...more
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
By now we are well-accustomed to charming animal-centered memoirs featuring a troublesome pup or a winsome feline. The rooster, however, is an unlikely candidate for this sort of pet as life-lesson instructor story. But with the rise in urban farming perhaps more roosters will be making their way into family units. For those who might be thinking about welcoming a rooster into their brood, Buddy is both an inspiration and a cautionary tale.

Brian McGrory was a Boston-based dog owner when he fell
Dianne Fallon
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I knew that I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw a brief excerpt in the Boston Globe. I went to high school with the author, Brian McGrory, who is now the editor of the Globe. Brian always had a wry understated sense of humor and was a terrific writer. I was curious to read about his adult life and his conflicts with the rooster as he adapts from man-about-town city bachelor to suburban dweller with the love-of-his life, a veterinarian, and her two animal-crazed daughters (to whom Buddy b ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
The best part of this book is actually about the author's first dog, Harry. That part made me feel all warm and squishy inside, and then made me cry. The rest of it? Not badly written, but no amount of clever writing shores up his assertion that giving up an independent city life for the suburbs and married step-parenthood (and living with a crazy, loud rooster) was worth it. The excesses of spending on suburban kids and their parties is detailed here in all its disgusting glory. I ended this bo ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I must confess, my favorite sections of the book dealt with Harry the late golden retriever - Buddy the rooster, not so much.

Brian obviously loved living in the city, but moved to accomodate his new family. He seemed like he was trying to convince himself that he'd done the right thing. (I'm thinking he should have kept his condo)

The whole "American Girl" incident just made me mad - the girls want to stay home with their mother, so he had to go to the mall days after Christmas, and purchase hun
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am thoroughly surprised by the relatively high average rating that has been given to what basically amounts to a self-indulgent, narcissistic rant that uses the novel concept of a chicken pet to bait the hook. It’s pretty evident that McGrory loved his dog, and his dog loved him (and according to him, everyone else for that matter – children, other dogs, his co-workers, his dry cleaner…you get the idea); it is equally evident that he really just wanted to write about said dog and to a much gre ...more
Rebecca Pierzchala
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok

McGrory is so in love with himself, it's a wonder he got not one, but two women to marry him. While his dog Harry adored him, Buddy the rooster had the better sense to see him for who he really was. Unimpressed with this book, or at least with McGrory himself. If I could give this one and a half stars, I would.
Michael Stockinger
Overall, I enjoyed it. The author was funny and it stirred my own feelings about wanting pets throughout my life. McGrory is one hell of a smart ass with his clever and hilarious writing style. I got many a laugh out of this one.
Michelle Boyer
If you've never fully loved an animal (any animal) then it is going to be hard for you to understand this book, considering at its core it is indeed about how animals shape and change our lives. As an avid chicken lover (and breeder working with the American Poultry Association and American Bantam Association, alongside other breed clubs) I had to pick this book up when I saw it on a shelf at the library. How can you resist a book about a rooster (which in my profession is a cockerel if it is un ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
An engaging tale of a blended family ruled by a cantankerous rooster. Although Brian can be a bit self-involved, I am very interested in knowing how things turned out. Is the family still together? So many questions!
Janine Graves
Feb 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
As most everyone else has said, the most engaging part of this book is when the author describes his relationship with Harry, his Golden Retriever.

I did love that part of the book, but it only serves the purpose of a springboard to how he met his manipulative second wife, the Golden's veterinarian, and her atrociously spoiled rotten offspring.

It went completely downhill from there.

As a women who has a blended family, where my husband and I have 5 children combined from our first marriages and a
Zara Garcia-Alvarez of The Bibliotaphe Closet Blog
Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man by Brian McGrory is a brilliant memoir about the reluctant transition a man must make from content autonomy of singlehood to the selflessness that’s required in a longterm relationship, the unexpected and ever-changing moods of children — and in this case, a house full of pets.

Brian McGrory’s experience as a writer and editor for the Boston Globe since the eighties has clearly given him an advantage in writing novels, which in Buddy, obviously showcases
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to on CD.

What a wonderful book! Really enjoyed reading and could Identify with so much! Particularly the chapters on the closeness a guy can have with his dog and what it really means. Highly recommended!
Emily Morris
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Something keeps drawing me to these inspiring animal books. Perhaps it's my love of animals. Perhaps I've just been sucked into the trend. I've had hits-and-misses with them that's made me question my tendency to read them, but somehow those hits keep me reading. I consider "Buddy" to be one of the hits.

So many other examples of the genre are cozy heartfelt reads of that undeniable bond between Person and Beloved Animal. This one most refreshingly is not, so do not expect to be wrapped up in tha
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Don't let the cover fool you. This is a memoir with a dog book. Well, ok, there IS a rooster involved but the author makes it clear right from the start that no rooster is going to come between him and his dog. Then he cute-meets a woman, who just happens to be his vet. Again, he has sworn off women since he has just come off a divorce and loves his single life with his dog. She has just gone through a divorce and when she spies him being especially gentle with his dog, her heart is forever his. ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a unique take on the animal genre stories, and i loved it. It had a little bit of everything; a great story of the author's relationship with his dog, humor, sadness, an interesting life change, a menagerie of animals, and of course, Buddy! The images of Buddy in "his" shelf, or in "his" house are great. i love the way he has to make sure that his flock (Pam and the kids) are okay while protecting them against intruders - including fellow housemate, the author! I never thought about a c ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was shopping for my own b'day presents in the time between Christmas and my b'day. What I really wanted were the Good Eats books from Costco, but, as it goes with Costco, they were in and gone before I got any. I ended up at Target instead and this was one of the few books they had left that I hadn't read so it became a b'day present.

I enjoy reading witty, life journals such as this, however Buddy never really seemed to find a voice (no pun intended). The author rambles around his tale a bit
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Oh, how I wanted to like this book, but ended up barely finishing it. The first part of the book was about the author & his beloved dog Harry, and this part was very good. Unfortunately, 2/3 of the book was about the author trying to fit into a new marriage, 2 spoiled step-daughters, and a menagerie of animals, including the evil rooster, Buddy. The family dynamic, headed by the weak-willed and passive aggressive, Pam was by far the most awful part of the book. I have seen mothers like her, ...more
Timothy Rynders
Dec 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
This was a terrible waste of time. I sort of hate myself for finishing it. It sounds like this guy got put up to writing the story and never really wanted to write about anything other than himself. It's a very thinly veiled story about a rooster helping a man supposedly discover how to be a family man. That connection is made for about half a page and the rest is this guy double talking about how he isn't just a selfish city dweller who has a revelation about ending up miserable and tries to ma ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I wish that I could break this book into parts and give it stars in pieces. The first part was fantastic! He told the story of his first dog and it was beautiful. I honestly think that if you get this book and only read the part about Harry... totally worth it. 5 stars for sure.

The middle... eh... it was ok. There were parts I liked and parts I skimmed through because I just didn't care. 2 stars.

At the end of the book he talked more about Buddy and how Buddy "made him a family man." It was swee
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Anyone who does not read this novel is missing one hilarious romp from single status to happily married land...while I always love books that feature an animal, Buddy and Brian's relationship had me literally laughing out loud...this while I happened to have the worst summer cold and I was trying to get some rest in bed, needless to say this is the book I will be adding to my permanent personal library to reread as needed...
Nora Brosseau
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love all things local. I have read Brian and listened to him on the radio. I probably would have head to Boston if put in your are a brave man. I loved figuring out the Buddy thing....amazing how we still learn at every age. Brian has changed, for the better, over the years....congrats on the new job too!
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Easy read, easy to pick up and put down which during a busy stretch of time is good to have. I liked reading a "love" story from a man's perspective, reminded me to lighten up on myself.
Kevin Stokes
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best non fiction book I've ever read about a pet rooster
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a book for an animal lover. It is warm and humorous! You will love to read about Buddy and his special home. And the very touching story of Harry. Enjoy this book!
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All About Animals: Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man 7 10 Oct 08, 2013 10:29AM  
Free Book Giveaway: How A Rooster Made Me A Family Man 1 3 Dec 14, 2012 06:55AM  
Critical Era: Author Appearance: Brian McGrory 6 9 Nov 05, 2012 05:57AM  
Critical Era: Giveaway: Brian McGrory's Buddy 1 7 Oct 24, 2012 07:05AM  

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McGrory is the editor of The Boston Globe. A 23-year veteran of the Globe, he was previously a Metro columnist and associate editor. Born and raised in Boston and the region, he has also worked as the Globe’s Metro editor, White House reporter, national reporter, general assignment reporter, and suburban reporter.