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I, Parrot: A Graphic Novel
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I, Parrot: A Graphic Novel

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  233 ratings  ·  49 reviews
When Daphne loses custody of her son, she is willing to do whatever it takes to get him back--even if it means enlisting the help of the wayward love of her life, a trio of housepainters, a flock of passenger pigeons, a landlady from hell, a super-sized bag of mite-killing powder, and more parrots than she knows what to do with.

I, Parrot, by acclaimed author Deb Olin Unfer
Published November 7th 2017 by Black Balloon Publishing
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3.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  233 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Deb and I loved this book and I wished it was twice as long, twice as much plangence and clever angst and bad choices made out of affection and stubbornness and diseased birds and indistinguishably same-named housekeepers and looming tragedy and big-hearted stupid love. Ah me.
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
A woman who doesn't have it all quite together is tasked with babysitting her boss's parrots.

Well . . . I enjoyed Elizabeth Haidle's artwork immensely, and I really wish the book had been in color.

Unferth's story? Eh, it seemed to lack direction.

And, then . . . there' that ending . . .

(view spoiler)
As much as I enjoyed reading the story of a woman whose perspective is not seen often in graphic novels, I couldn't help yelling at the end "YOU DON'T RELEASE NON NATIVE SPECIES INTO THE CITY LIKE THAT ESPECIALLY ENDANGERED SPECIES"
Matt Graupman
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Flipping through “I, Parrot” by writer Deb Olin Unferth and artist Elizabeth Haidle, I was struck by its folksy drawing style and quirky story elements. It seemed like definitely the kind of thing I’d be into. So I got it out of the library and dove in and... Well, let me put it this way: there’s a saying in comics that a great story can save bad art but great art can’t really save a bad story. “I, Parrot” falls into the latter category. Despite its delicate art, Unferth’s characters are unlikab ...more
Vivek Tejuja
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are graphic novels and then there are graphic novels that almost speak to you. They are relatable, empathetic and make you see things in a different light. “I, Parrot” is one such graphic novel – unique, wondrous and soulful at the same time.

The book is about Daphne, a lonely woman, her life, her attempt to keep her life afloat so she can get the custody of her child someday from her ex-husband, her current love who she cannot make head or tail of and forty-two exotic parrots she has to ta
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The illustrations here are very beautiful. I loved them so much and how they played off of the story. I'd love to see more from this artist. I also loved the birds! The story itself was kind of OK, I thought. I found it very heartfelt but wasn't satisfied by the end. I wanted to spend more time with main character and the birds together.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A rock bottom moment of clarity plus a few dozen exotic birds, illustrated in a kind of primitive style that masks how very modern all this is. Divorce, custody battles, underemployment, empty self-help recitations, landlords, and so much more can be stacked into the “relatable” column of this or that reader. A contemporary parable of liberation.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-won
I won a copy of this book.

I didn't have any ideas going into this, aside from thinking it might be about parrots who keep people in cages. That is NOT what this book is about...although there is a girl and and she's bird-sitting parrots. The graphic novel was okay.
Justin Nelson
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
**Disclaimer: I won a copy of this graphic novel through a GR Giveaway sponsored by the publisher, Catapult. Thanks to all!** This was an interesting read. The artistic style was reminiscent of Persepolis. The story was intriguing as I could identify with someone who just kept having bad luck happen tok them. The description calls it "surreal", but I didn't really catch that vibe, more ridiculous at times. Also, the ending didn't jive with me...i think the story was trying to set up her claiming ...more
L.R. Diaz
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Very pleasant story of a couple that seems to find trouble wherever they go. Perhaps good things will finally happen to them.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
With gentle art and a meaningful look at the trappings of civilization, this book follows an unhappy, divorced woman who has lost custody of her son as she tries to find freedom. The use of parrots, passenger pigeons, and cages as metaphors is well done and not overly heavy handed. I would recommend the novel for adults who occasionally feel like flying away from civilization.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Decent character work and artwork, but the plot is not compelling and the resolution too open.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This is not one of the most riveting graphic novels every written or illustrated. The main character is a woman named Daphne that has a son and an ex-husband. She has not been able to remain employed at a solid job, she currently records short inspirational audio messages. Daphne has a boyfriend that suffers the same affliction of being unable to hold a quality job. As a consequence of her difficulties, her son is now spending almost all of his time with his father.
Desperate for cash, Daphne a
Dakota Morgan
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A solid, simple story of a woman on the verge. Daphne's lost custody of her son, her boyfriend's lame, her job's a joke, and now her boss wants her to take care of some birds - hundreds of rare parrots, as it turns out. Hijinks ensue, but with a heartfelt core that brings everyone together to save the birds and save their lives.

I liked all the characters, especially Daphne's son, but Daphne does come across as a bit of a whiner for parts of the story. "Evvverything's wrong and there's nottthing
Apr 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Some people will love this book. I am not one of those people.

You say the drawings are folksy, ethereal, evocative. I say they're vague and colorless. (This is a book about parrots. Why is it in greyscale? To remind me it's not really about the parrots?)

You say the lettering is distinguished and unique, I say it's blocky and hard to read.

You say the story is raw and true to life, I say it's haphazard, one-dimensional, and comes off with more than the standard dose of angry ex who is angry becaus
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dreamy graphic novella. In our world where even the daily newspaper comics show up in color, the greyscale color choice sets the stage for the story as a metaphorical reflection of our world.

It's a weird little tale, but what I enjoyed most were the odd specific touchstones scripted by Deb Olin Unferth: the bizarre trio of painters with the same name, the job of the heroine and how that carries through the book in the form of the parrot speech, etc.

(I would not recommend that anyone take the st
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this. I didn't love this.

Two parts to a graphic novel: story and art.

As a mother, I thought this would rip my heart out. My heart is still 100% intact.
Daphne acts like she should drive around with a God Bless This Hot Mess bumper sticker. That ending did nothing to redeem her in my eyes. I don't know if it was supposed to move me, but I was just irritated and glad to be done.

Meh. This just really wasn't my cup of tea. I agree with many others that (at least some) colo
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
It is difficult to classify or review this book which juxtaposes the story of a woman who has had a lot of bad luck and is seeking to regain custody of her son from her well-to-do former husband with that of a group of pet parrots that she is bird sitting for her employer in an effort to earn money to pay her rent and prove herself capable of caring for her son since the story is not what one expects from the title or descriptive material.

Much of the story is symbolic and filled with new age ma
Chelsea Martinez
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I think I subconsciously checked out this book, recognizing Unferth's name either from McSweeney's stuff or from being a UT Austin student. Anyhow, there are some interesting themes about "bad motherhood" and meaningful work in here that made me uncomfortable in a thought-provoking way, I suppose. I just don't get that the dramatic move at the end is to release rare birds to roam (and die) free in the wild... I guess I should think about whether "transgressional animal stewardship" is a thing bu ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
What an interesting way to convey a story filled with difficult situations and emotions!  The graphic novel format illustrated in shades of grey is perfect for Daphne's struggle and belies the bits of (unintentional?) humor of her situation.

It's a glimpse into a short time in her life, but still manages to pull you in and make you understand the depth of her character.

I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
The art was nice, but would have likely been better in color, especially with the usually vibrant colors of the birds featured. My main gripe is actually with the storyline, which left a lot to be desired, unfortunately. I liked the idea and some elements of the story, especially the focus on a main character who has an interesting (and potentially relatable) story.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. This is the first thing I've read by the author or the illustrator.

The story was cute but a little messed up. It had a nice flow but you really get the sense that the people in this book can't take care of themselves let alone anyone or anything else.

The illustrations are a bit simple but fit well with the look and feel of the story.

All in all I liked it.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Revoltingly pretentious, this tale is one long, forced, metaphor, screaming "look how deep I'm being!" while taking its sweet time to go nowhere. I had every reason to feel sorry for the protagonist, but she's such a helpless, whiny drag I couldn't be bothered.
Maggie Gordon
The art in I, Parrot is quite lovely, and there's a thread of interesting story. Unfortunately, most of the narrative is focused on a protagonist I really did not enjoy following, while the weird, but compelling things happened in the background. Ugg.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I loved E. Haidle's delicate and geometric art, I thought the story was half-finished and negligent to parrots and children alike - there are unlikeable narrators and unlikeable narrators. But the fake parrot book was very funny, and I liked the house painters.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I loved the pictures, but the story was a bit perplexing at the end. I did not expect a neat and tidy ending, but what happened didn't quite make sense. Not really a good way to win back custody of her son.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s a beautifully illustrated piece of escapism. At times I felt it took the issue of child custody a bit lightly, and I couldn’t maintain a suspension of disbelief.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not quite what I expected so hard for me to say its good or bad since its not the type I usually read.
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American short-story writer and novelist. She is the author of a collection of stories, Minor Robberies, and a novel, Vacation, both published by McSweeney's.

Her stories have appeared in Harper's, Fence, AGNI and other magazines. She is a frequent contributor to Noon. In 2009 she received a Creative Capital Grant from the Warhol Foundation and was also the recipient of the Cabell First Novelist Aw