Cover Image: Why Peacocks?

Why Peacocks?

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Member Reviews

Journalist Sean Flynn, a North Carolina resident, finds himself getting not one, but three peacocks from one of his neighbors. 
Naming them Carl, Ethel and Mr. Pickle, Flynn soon finds out, as often happens with pets, one thing leads to another. It’s not just food, but pens and vet bills and more.
Flynn gives us a history of the beautiful birds (at least the males are beautiful) and even travels as far as Scotland to a castle where peacocks have been for centuries.
These birds wouldn’t be my choice for pets, but it’s obvious that they grew on Flynn and his family.
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Thank you Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for access to this arc. 

I’m obviously a person who can’t help but look at a picture of what has to be one of the most in-your-face, beautiful birds of the world. But what do I know about them besides that? Not much, really. In “Why Peacocks” I learn enough to know that if anyone ever calls me up and asks, “Wanna peacock?” my answer would be “no.” But I dove headfirst into Flynn’s discovery of life with peacocks as well as his musings about life in general, life with chickens, a pug, an ornery cat, two sons, and his wife. 

For this is more a memoir of Flynn’s life as he goes from novice peacock owner, to someone who pays a ridiculous amount of money to save one of them (hours of vet surgery ain’t cheap), to someone who worries about the rapidly disappearing sand in the world as he has five tons of it delivered to his urban farm for the coop. Along the way he takes the reader with him as he discovers the history of the town where Andrew Carnegie was born and talks with Californians who are dealing with a peacock serial killer (skip chapter 13 if you’re at all squeamish). Flynn also faces how to convey bad news about pet death to his two young sons as well as talking his extremely patient wife into letting him get yet more peacocks even as he realizes that these birds aren’t ones you can cuddle, teach tricks to, or let loose in your yard. His story is funny, down to earth, wide ranging, something I skimmed in places (see above note about chapter 13), but enjoyable nonetheless. B
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A quirky and very entertaining memoir/family drama/investigative reporting and peacock history.  I now know a lot more about peacocks!!! Enjoyable read.
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Midlife crisis? Long-time passion? Catalyst for a memoir? Escape from reality of a job ranging from reporting war time atrocities to heartbreak from raging fires? Family dramedy? Natural observations? History? Why Peacocks seems to cover all those very nicely. 

Sean Flynn is enchanted by peacocks. After a household pet makes an unfortunate exit, Flynn starts going down a path that leads to the purchase of two male peacocks and one female peahen. Tenacious and curious as a reporter, Flynn seems to ignore that part of his personality as he grapples with the responsibilities of being a new “pet” peacock owner. As he educates himself, he educates the reader. He never loses sight of the impact of these birds on his supportive family, who are both a source of laughter, poignancy, and a reality check.

Flynn make the peacocks’ personalities (and other barnyard denizens) come to life. But he also illuminates the quirky personalities of other peacock aficionados from California, Scotland, India and his own home state….plus there are also mentions of Martha Stewart!

This is not like any memoir or avian book that I have ever read (although my experience is not all that vast). Enjoyable, humorous, quirky and informative. Yay! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book.
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I chose to read this book as I thought it would be a bit quirky and that I could learn something new. It was all that yet I never dreamed I could be so entertained and Why Peacocks would come to be one of my most favorite books of this year. So clever and Flynn’s words often made me laugh. Great storytelling regarding this most unusual yet beautiful 'pet'. I must also do a shout out to the chickens in Flynn’s menagerie of pets. Such personalities. They were a hoot!
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I’ve always been fascinated and mesmerized by peacocks so was instantly attracted to this book title. It never occurred to me that anyone had peacocks as pets, as I’d only ever seen them at botanic gardens, running wild in nearby Palos Verdes, or on Hugh Hefner’s estate on Girls Next Door. Coincidentally, the peacocks in Palos Verdes are mentioned in this book, but I digress. This book is perfect in describing how one ends up with peacocks as pets, and how peacocks and other pets shape our emotional and psychological existence, both as individuals and in families. 

This book is well crafted and flows seamlessly from true tales of peafowl ownership to historical and biological references and wonderings. I was so fascinated by some of the historical details that I googled them to see pictures (example, Whistler’s Peacock Room). I laughed hysterically at the Martha Stewart references and easily followed the author’s train of thought, even when it leaned to absurd musings. I cried when he described the loss of pets, and his children and wife’s reactions. All of it was very real. He is neither pretentious nor mundane, and I enjoyed this book much more than anticipated.

I don’t often read non fiction memoirs and I’m glad I strayed from the norm for this. It’s well worth the change of pace. If you, too, love peacocks, zoology, memoirs, do-it-yourself stories, mixed with historical references then I highly recommend this book. I’m grateful to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read the ARC.
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One summer, two peacocks and a peahen walked into my yard. They stayed for a while and then disappeared. I had no idea there were peacocks in North Idaho, so I wanted to learn more. I picked up this book because I figured it would help me. Unfortunately, it’s more of a memoir and the peafowl seem just an excuse for the author to write about his life. There are some fascinating details about the species and their behavior, but I was expecting more. Instead, Flynn talks about his family, the backstory of everybody he meets, the shortage of sand and the refugee crisis. These may be interesting facts for other readers, I just wanted more about these beautiful birds and I always figured the kind of people who read these books are animal nuts like me. The author is likable but, if he has a wild passion for animals, it doesn’t show. I’ve loved other animal memoirs (like Sy Montgomery’s), but only when the creatures are front and center and the humans just the background. This book has it backwards and I just don’t find humans as interesting as other animals. 
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Simon & Schuster!
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Why Peacocks? by Sean Flynn is a mesmerizing book, part novel and part avian nonfiction. Flynn has a wonderful perspective on the world and what sounds like a beautiful marriage and family, and it was neat to learn about peacocks through his lens. I deeply appreciated what he shared about the horrors and traumas he experiences as a journalist and the significance of finding and holding onto the beauty in this world.

First of all, he is such a skilled writer. I sometimes had to step out of the trance to do a doubletake that he has a weird skill of writing run-on sentences that feel as natural as how I think and talk that I only noticed when I really, really looked. He's so funny! With grace, he writes about all those little idiosyncrasies of being human that I could relate to without ever having such an articulate way of expressing in writing. It's inspiring to read writing like that.

Second, I had no idea how much could be said about peacocks! This book is fascinating! He weaves the myths, history, and global cultural significance of the peacock. My favorite stories were the dramas that showed the tension between how annoying they can be with their beauty and use as interactive decor. 

I'm going to say it again for emphasis: this book is funny. He got me in the feels many, many times, but I also laughed out loud. He shares tender moments with his kids and pets as well as the embarrassing stories that come with being alive. 

Thank you, Sean Flynn, for sharing your story! And thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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As a former peacock owner, I adored this title. It was a wonderful and informative tale about these beautiful birds. It was a treat to read and remember mine and even make me want another pair!
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This was a delightfully surprising book.  Like Flynn and many others, I too find peacocks majestic and fascinating.  This novel is as entertaining and clever as it is informative.  I found the narrative engaging and hard to put down.  The insights into the author's family, life lessons and growing peafowl brood were heartfelt and well balanced with the informational side of learning of peafowl origins and popularity throughout the world.
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I never thought that a non-fiction book about peafowl (a delightful term I've learned from Sean Flynn) would make me both laugh out loud and cry multiple times, but that's exactly what happened. As much as this is a story about Carl, Ethel, and Mr. Pickle, the peahen and peacocks the family has spontaneously adopted, it's also a story about Sean Flynn's family and, just as the tagline says, their search for meaning. Why do humans love the magnificent beauty of peacocks so much? What binds us to our pets, and what's left when they die? How do you explain death to a child, especially death of a pet? The rabbit hole of peafowl love (dare I say obsession) that Sean Flynn takes us down is incredibly fascinating, hilarious, and written with the seasoned wit and narrative prowess of a journalist of Flynn's caliber. I'm fairly certain Flynn could write a book about the history of dirt and I'd read it. But I most enjoyed the intimate look into the family's relationships, as well as Flynn's rumination into his own life as both a journalist of death and a loving father and husband, with all screw-ups, insecurities, and self-doubt included. By the end, I was as charmed by Sean Flynn and his wife and children as I was by their magnificent birds.
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When Sean Flynn gets, shall we say, coerced into adopting three peacocks, he is thrust into the world of the most regal fowl in the world. Aside from the personal anecdotes of what the experience of owning peacocks is like (spoiler, they’re high-maintenance and not super friendly) Flynn does a great job exploring the rich history of the peacock, from the inner workings of the feather shafts to their place among royalty. Flynn is a seasoned journalist who writes about dead people for a living and his journalistic background informs this book with deep dives into peacock lore, history and care. This is the book about peacocks that I didn’t know I needed. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the advanced review copy of the book.
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Delightful book which blends natural history and memoir in unexpected ways.
I mean who knew a pet peacock -- or three -- could inspire a writer to come up with
such a lovely narrative. Of special interest to me was the fact that blue peafowl, natives
of India, roam the street of a town in Scotland with such casual abandon to this day!

The peacocks of Dunfermline were introduced in Pittencrieff Park in 1905 by Henry Beveridge upon his return from India after a long service. Incidentally, the park itself was dedicated to the public by one of the town's most illustrious sons, Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist and philanthropist whose family set sail to the the U.S. when he was a young boy. The townspeople seem to like the peacocks as opposed to some folks in Hawaii who consider it noisy, "invasive" vermin. There is a disturbing story of a woman who took a baseball bat to the peacock and killed it in broad daylight in the yard of an apartment block. So yes, this is just to say, nothing -- no brid, animal or person/thing has universal appeal. 

I am a native of India and I am so proud of the national bird's success abroad . I dare say most people will like this book even if they are not big nature lovers or anything.
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