Comedic-drama eco-fiction set in the 1970’s, early ’80’s, at the dawn of America’s environmental consciousness, pretty Ellowyn Kelsey is a redneck girl living the pretty redneck life in rural Michigan. This includes waiting for her roofer husband to come around…Her self-imposed lobotomy ends when she shows up at the wrong time for a church picnic, meeting a bunch of birders instead. Watching a mating pair of bluebirds lovingly tending to one another causes something in her to break.
Everyone recognizes what she’s going through except her–until the depth of her pain and emotion holds her captive. How can she be the last to know? She is indignant, hurt, has no idea how to process the emotional sideswipe. Her pain is expressed through the crazy narcissistic melodrama of youth, her reluctant unabashed accomplice is her best friend, Patty.
Part II finds her experiencing yet another major loss. She finds refuge in nature making true her mother’s prediction–a chasm may form between her new and old life, between she and Patty. The narcissism of her youth wears off and she starts to care about something bigger than herself (God forbid!)–her own planet. The “rednecks and assorted white trash” of her town waste no time labeling her as their own “token environmental wacko”.
A new guy shows up, his heart in one hand, binoculars in the other…
She meets Kate, one of the first female biologists to be hired by the Michigan Fish and Game Department. A trailblazer in a male-dominated profession, Kate has spent her life fighting to “protect the environment”. It hasn’t worked out and Kate’s very angry. Who wants to end up like her?
Accompanied by her faithful mutt, Ellie leaves Michigan to travel “out west” where her sister lives, resulting in some unexpected experiences: spirits in the desert, an accidental crusade against a development in San Diego, geographically diverse sexual encounters with a cowboy and a “real Indian” who hails from Mono Lake. Those amazing sandhill cranes (and who is this guy in my tent?).
Transformed, yet maligned, by her growing appreciation and awareness of our miraculous planet, her grief, her explorations, literally and spiritually, this is a story you will never forget that may even motivate you to dig out those binoculars and pay attention to what is happening with your local parks, something that would make the author take flight.
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Virginia Arthur was born wild. She took to exploring the wilds of her new Ohio suburban jungle by the time she was ten, launching great birding expeditions in between backhoes and bulldozers. Her bird list grew shorter in direct correlation with the number of homes growing larger such that by the time she was 12, she was a raging environmentalist, before the word even existed. This delighted her parents to no end.
She continued on this profoundly pointless and frustrating path by earning a B.S. in Field Biology and a M.S. in Botany (Ecology) only to continue the exploring, observing of a country at war with its natural self. She weaves these experiences into her novels. She has published two: her first one, Birdbrain, an eco-fiction novel based on some of her real life experiences, was published in 2014. She published her second one, comedic-drama literary fiction, September 2015: Phat(‘s) Chance for Buddha in Houston. (Or How I Spent My Summer Vacation). Her newest eco-fiction novel, Treed, is due out September 2018.
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