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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  17 reviews
2014 Recommended List, Santa Cruz, CA Bookshop.
2015 "Honorable Mention" in "Wild Card" Category, SF Book Fest.

Genre/Major Influences: "comedic-drama", eco-fiction, snark fiction, women's, environmental, western travel, romance, humor, coming-of-age, societal, political, commentary. Snarky, edgy, political eco-fiction that includes profanity. (I'm not shittin' ya').

In resp
Kindle Edition, 375 pages
Published June 1st 2014 by Ecological Outreach Services (first published May 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  41 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Ginger Bensman
Birdbrain is a book with important messages about the joys, costs, and heartbreak of finding and owning one’s own true self, and of discovering the mystical, unspeakable wonder of Earth and our human-imperiled biosphere (the well-spring of all life, and our one and only home).
Ellie, the book’s protagonist, experiences a dawning awareness that her life as a taken-for-granted appendage of her husband is virtually empty and she begins to long for more—to want a life that has joy and purpose. Just
David Rose
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rare and wonderful

Wonderful, profound, earthy, moving, empathic, refreshing, inspiring - ok, maybe I should stop with the superlatives, but not before I add, above all, real. There is not a character in these pages, major or minor, that did not ring true. Ellie would laugh at me, but I think this book is important because it may reach people who wouldn't otherwise read "eco-crap". Then again, Ellie might sympathise with my naive enthusiasm. Some books are as rare as the not-so-mythical snipe, a
Sarah (SB) ღ
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

50% The west had done been settled and wandering now meant running into a fence, a sign, or a gun. Michigan still had it's open spaces, like the Upper Peninsula, and some ares close to Canada but these were calculated spots. Ellie thought as she was driving down Highway 15 in San Diego County, where the development was hot and heavy, how it was getting to the point in America where you have to calculate how to get to certain locations so feelings of freedom can be evoked. But it calculated freed
Melanie Page
Birdbrain is a self-published (2014) novel by Virginia Arthur. Clocking in at 500 pages, Birdbrain covers a lot of ground. The novel starts in Michigan in 1982 with 26-year-old Ellie sitting at home, waiting for her husband to love her more than the TV. When she accidentally goes on the wrong day to her church picnic, she discovers a group who loves bird watching, which becomes the catalyst for her divorce. Although she meets new men along the way, including one who loves and waits for her, Elli ...more
Lita Burke
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Birdbrain by Virginia Arthur is a contemporary novel about a young woman’s life as a passionate environmentalist. I purchased a copy of this book.

Birdbrain covers the life of a 1970’s young woman named Ellie and her laughter, losses, and struggles to save the wilderness she loves. Disaster and delight swirl around her. It starts when she mistakes the date for an outdoor picnic, discovers birding, and gets the courage to divorce her emotionally dead husband.

The chapter about Ellie’s struggle to s
Emily Crow
On the whole, I did enjoy Birdbrain quite a bit. It is the story of a lonely housewife who leaves her husband in the early 1980s and falls in love with birding and nature. Along the way she gets an education, travels the country, and tries to defend the last open spaces being quickly gobbled up by rampant development. I loved the birding, enjoyed the author's descriptions of natural landscapes, and wanted to cheer Ellie on as she tried to save the coastal sage habitat in California. There are al ...more
Michael Guest
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A subtle spiritual message underpins this book’s complex of themes and more overt calls to environmental awareness and action — to “make a difference in the world.” The theme is along the lines of, We take one walk through this existence. Don’t miss a second, make the most of it: a moral that keeps returning as a kind of tacit mantra.

Semi-autobiographical protagonist Ellowyn (Ellie) expresses it most directly in a realization about the stunning, multifaceted, but generally undervalued, spectacl
Elliot Jackman
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Virginia Authur tells us a story about a young woman, Ellie, that was been lulled into complacency in her life until she has an epiphany while accidentally getting involved with a bird watching group.

She knows she's unhappy and bored with her marriage but doesn't really have a plan on what to do about it. Once she decides that she can't stay in the relationship any longer, she begins a long and hard process of what could be considered a type of spiritual growth. Not spiritual in the religious se
Samantha Henthorn
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! A mouthful, I really enjoyed reading this. If you enjoyed Thelma and Louise and/or Benjamin Zephaniah’s poem Trees Please (available on a variety of poetry websites) then this book will appeal to you. This may seem like a never the (literary) twain shall meet, but the book starts with the protagonist Ellowyn (Ellie to her friends) starting a journey of self discovery- out and about with her friend Patty. Ellie suffers life’s ups and downs, without spoiling, the ups are the message of this s ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. I loved the character of Ellowyn and was on board for her journey. I loved the humor and felt her predicament. Her dissatisfaction with her life and her marriage. John Prine recently passed and I'm a huge fan. His song, "Angel From Montgomery", explored some these same issues and Birdbrain resonated with me the same way. I know nothing about birding, but I found the details fascinating and I found it totally believable that Ellowyn would use birding as a way to reconnect w ...more
Joe Ward
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book itself, as a physical object, is poorly constructed and replete with typos (some of which have been corrected by hand!). The story is told in the vernacular, which I find refreshing. There is sex and there is violence. The violence is towards the Earth and this violence breaks the protagonist's, Ellie's, heart. Ellie's love for birds, and for nature, sets her apart from those around her who don't understand. It certainly is sad to stand witness to a biosphere in decline. I don't ordinar ...more
Mary Nee
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book . I enjoyed it !
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I admit it: I am a nature nut. An enviro. A person who gets pissed off when yet another house gets built in some suburb. I mourn the loss of habitat to the extent of being nearly pathological. I love Ed Abbey. I'm with him when he said "the ideology of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell".

And so it isn't often I read a novel that understands such themes. Virginia Arthur takes her time with the book. She sets up the characters and let's them be what they are. She doesn't shy away fro
Juliet Wilson
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, nature
Ellie falls into birdwatching by accident when she gets the date of a church picnic wrong and finds herself surrounded by birdwatchers. Seeing the care and attention that a pair of bluebirds pay to each other, she finally relaises she needs to work up the courage to finally leave her no-good husband. So she packs her belongings into her truck and takes her dog off to her best friend Patty's place.

The two of them become more and more interested in birds and sign up as volunteers at a local nature
Robert Zwilling
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What I liked about this story was that the journey was the destination, which continually evolved. The beginning is always slow but once launched the story soared like an eagle, allowing the reader a beautiful view of the surrounding world, our world. And the idea that change was still in the works, still happening. One person at a time.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a Goodreads winner. Really liked this book. Enjoyed the environmental theme and the relationships the main character goes through especially the one with her oldest friend.
Virginia Arthur
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it so what the hell, it's terrific! ...more
Isis Ray-sisco
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Rewi Andrawidi
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E.A. Walker
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La De Da

I am a professional field biologist of many years. I have worked all over the U.S. (including some fantastic field years in Alaska) and in some parts of Europe.

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