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One Bird's Choice

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  323 ratings  ·  72 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
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published September 11th 2010 by House of Anansi Press
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  323 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canada
I don't even remember where I heard of Iain Reid but I found two of his books at the library last week and read them back to back. I love them.

This is his memoir of the year he moved back home with his parents when he was underemployed. His parents own a hobby farm called Lilac Hill, and it is within commuting distance of his part-time job with the CBC in Ottawa. So Iain came home, at first for the summer, but it stretched to a full year. This book was so funny that I laughed out loud several ti
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
4.0 Stars
This is wonderful, quiet memoir where very little happens. The chapters cover topics from food to farm chores to VCR tapes. Yet, this short book still manages to be memorable, sweet and poignant. The author's anecdotes about his parents are funny and adorable.

This book felt reminiscent of the Canadian Sitcom, Corner Gas, which about a sleepy small Canadian town where there is also "not a lot is going on". I think Canadian readers, particularly underemployed young people, will connect m
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Janet Hutchinson
A humourous account of moving back home as an unemployed mid-twenties man. I quite liked his parents - their rhythm and conversations feel very familiar. Perhaps it is just the way many years married couples communicate. At any rate, an enjoyable read.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-lit, animals, farm-lit
I really enjoyed the premise of this book—mostly because, at the ripe old age of 23, I’m ready to move to the country and run a hobby farm. It appealed to me for the same reason that I loved books like The Woefield Poultry Collective , Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life , and Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One's Own . (I’d recommend this to you if you enjoyed these books, and vice versa.) To me there is something compelling about a quiet life on the farm or rural ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Writers, animal lovers, hobby farm enthusiasts
Recommended to JenniferD 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
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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? Is he ...more
Mathew Bookworm Smith
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A hilarious account of Iain moving back in with his parents - a returning to the nest story.
This book is extremely relatable. Everyone thinks their house is 'normal', until they leave and live independently for a decade, then you realize how weird your parents really are. And, without kids around the parents tend to even get more extreme. Reid has plenty of examples of his parents hobby farm, and all the animals, taking over most of their time and thoughts. In one case his mother has a five page
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, memoirs
I very much enjoyed this memoir. I recently have stumbled upon Iain Reid, having read his two most recent novels, and want to read all of his books. This first book chronicals the year he moved back home to his parents farm. The chapters are broken up into seasons, which provides a built-in setting to the adventures that arise on the farm. His parents are so cute and quirky, and I quickly fell in love with both of them.

I was reminded of Raymond Carver while reading the ending of each chapter, a
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You don't have to be a 30-something having to move back home while between jobs to appreciate this book. Anyone who's taken - or has had it 'required' of them to take - a 'time out' to rethink, recalibrate or reconsider where they are in their lives and perhaps consider the challenges and benefits of changing course will find that this story resonates. Again, Iain Reid, provided a lovely, thoughtful, worthwhile read. And I learned something about hens, too. ...more
Jane Mulkewich
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another book by Iain Reid, which I also liked very much! And again he mentions his sister who lives in Iceland. I would tell you why it is called "One Bird's Choice" but that might be too much of a spoiler. Suffice to say he goes home for a year as a 20-something to live on his parents' farm in the Ottawa valley (this is obviously just before he moves to Kingston and invites his 92-year-old grandmother for a staycation - see my review of The Truth About Luck). ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, that didn't take long! This year in Iain Reid's life where he goes back to living with his parents as a 27 year old on their farm was quite enjoyable. His parents (like everyone's) are quirky enough to amuse. As well are the animals on the farm. There's nothing earth shattering here. Reid is just a very good writer who really knows how to tell a good, humorous story. It's a light, easy read that you will suck you in very quickly. ...more
Cheryl Wilks
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book very much. In fact I finished the book and started reading it all over again. The book is one that spoke to my mother’s heart. I sympathized with the author having to move back home, yet I enjoyed his sense of humour and the loving family interaction. It is definitely a book I wish to read again.
. It was a book well written showing the author’s creative ability of things to come.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked this up because it seemed like it would be a charming slice of life story, set in familiar settings.

It turned out to be boring. Dull. Not actually funny. It attempts to be humourous or quirky but fails at it. It's mostly a lot of whining about everyday things. The whinging of a privileged person who has no motivation to do much of anything. Rather than finding the conversations with his parents charming, they mostly are just stifling and irritating. Couldn't finish reading.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
So much whining and complaining. Not funny, not insightful, not even interesting. Too lazy to get up early enough to get to work on time? No wonder this guy couldn't get a job. Underemployed? Nope, just unemployed and too spoiled to take jobs that don't utilize his university skills. I felt sorry for his parents. They seemed happy. It irked me that the author tried to depict them as humorous and quirky. They seemed pretty normal to me. ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was exactly the read I needed after finishing graduate school. I too am an unemployed, overeducated, twenty-something. Despite our mutual woes, this book was relaxing and actually quite inspiring. Maybe I'll try my hand at a memoir too, some time. ...more
Angelika Oberoi
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I especially liked this book as it takes place near and in Ottawa and Iain's parents are the kind of parents I would have liked to have. I have to say that the next book I read was not at all what I expected Iain to write. I could have not been more surprised at I am thinking of ending things. ...more
Apr 15, 2021 rated it liked it
As always, the review is optional but I want to write just a few words about the book. I could literally feel the farm vibes - since I live at one. I like his books very much, so couldn't miss the read. Thanks! :) ...more
Heidi Cornel
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Not as humorous as I had hoped. Not a lot of substance.
Lea Love
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So fucking funny. Laugh-out-loud-wake-your-wife-up-in-bed kind of book.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Just okay...some bits were rather heart warming, other parts just kinda dull. I liked his parents, quirky and quietly content with their lives. Something to be learned there.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour
Oh I laughed and laughed, this was really close to home for me.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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 c
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Twenty-something Iain Reid was underemployed, broke and going nowhere fast, despite a college education under his belt. With few prospects, Iain decided to take a summer position as a weekly book reviewer on CBC Radio in Ottawa, Canada. The job also meant moving back in with his parents on their rural farm.

Summer quickly turned into fall, and before he knew it, Iain was welcoming spring - still on his parents 19 farm. While his summer gig did turn into a temporary stint as an associate producer,
Samantha March
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction. His debut novel, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, was an international bestseller, and was translated into more than a dozen languages. Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman is writing and directing the film adaptation for Netflix. Foe is Reid's second novel. ...more

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