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The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki…

The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir

by Nikki Moustaki

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Moustaki's story of her life with birds, her love for her Grandfather, and her battle with alcohol is riveting from the first page and never lets up for the next 250 or so pages. And there's even a hurricane. Frankly, the book could have been longer. For someone with three degrees in creative writing, she actually writes very well! While it is hard to believe she could remember some of the details depicted here, especially from the years lived in an alcoholic haze, the descriptions always ring true. This book does a great job of conjuring up Miami, New York, and finally, Paris--home of the bird market that played such a prominent role in the stories her grandfather told her. This book succeeds on every level. You'll learn a lot about birds and about our relation to them. You'll learn about families and friendship and love. You'll lose yourself in this book and not regret a single minute of it. Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  datrappert | Feb 10, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This really shouldn't have taken me so long to read but unfortunately life kept getting in the way.

An easy to read memoir that I found interesting enough however nothing was extremely dramatic or compelling. I could definitely relate to Miss Moustaki and I'm sure other readers will be able to also. Totally loved her passion and knowledge for her birds and her ability to get her life back on path.
* Received in exchange for a review ( )
  ginger72 | Feb 10, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Nikki’s fascinating memoir of her childhood relationship with her grandfather Poppy, her early interest in birds and writing, and then her downward spiral into alcoholism is craftily put together. Poppy was a well known fashion designer in Miami, Florida, whose stories about living in Cairo, Egypt and Paris, France captivated young Nikki; but it was his love for birds that ignited her fervor for them and directed the course of her life. By the time she hit her 20’s, she was successfully breeding exotic birds, rescuing and bringing back to health many others, and beginning a lucrative career writing about them. She was given an enviable job as an editor for a Publishing House in New York. Sadly, memories of an earlier tragedy kept popping up and she used alcohol to edit out the dark memories. Her drinking destroyed her job and everything she held dear, including her beloved birds.

I loved the way Nikki writes about her thought process as she justifies her drinking and her honest look at the messiness of her life—the black outs, the ugliness of the next day, and lost relationships. As an ex-addict I know these truths, and highly recommend The Bird Market of Paris to anyone struggling with addiction. Even if you never walked this road, and don’t know anyone who has, you’ll enjoy Nikki’s writing and the look inside her life with Poppy who designed for some very famous women of his time. This is definitely a 5 star memoir. ( )
  PamelaBarrett | Jan 27, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’m not sure who is the target audience for this memoir of birds and alcohol. I requested the ER because of the birds. Nikki Moustaki is knowledgeable, the author of books about caretaking and breeding, but in this book the birds are obsession and symbol, a bond with beloved grandfather Poppy. Poppy was a fashion designer, a native of Corfu who had arrived in Miami via Cairo and Paris with his wife and son. He raised pigeons and told stories and doted on Nikki, who was otherwise lonely and adrift. When a boyfriend gave her a baby lovebird, she was smitten by its vulnerability. The lovebird led to an aviary as the boyfriend faded away, and meetings with other aficionados led to writing about birds and beyond. And then the aviary was hit by a hurricane. And then Poppy died while Nikki was in New York, unable to extricate from school and work commitments. Nikki numbed her guilt and grief with alcohol. She does not spare herself in descriptions of her deterioration. It was ugly, and it continued until a chance conversation on a New York street with a man who carried a parrot on his shoulder. There began her wobbly recovery, with a pivotal episode in the Bird Market of Paris: one of Poppy’s stories, and her hope for redemption. This isn’t a book that I’d actively seek, but I found it both brave and affecting. ( )
  qebo | Jan 26, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Nikki Moustaki has had a lifelong love affair with birds, a love affair inspired and nurtured by her grandfather’s love and respect for birds. But when Nikki was a young woman, she had to abandon her birds during a hurricane and, when she returned, she found, to her horror, that most of her birds had suffered an awful death. For years she blamed herself and she began a gradual and total decline into alcoholism. It is only when she rediscovers birds that she begins her emergence from this darkness. And that is this beautiful story. ( )
  debnance | Jan 18, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805096515, Hardcover)

“This may be the most original cross-species love story I’ve ever read. Part travelogue, part recovery memoir, and one hundred percent compelling.” —Gwen Cooper, author of the New York Times bestselling Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat

“[An] epiphany-provoking gem of a story, skillfully crafted, vivid and rich with feeling.” —Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet and author of The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood

“A stunning, exceptional memoir from a woman who truly understands and appreciates birds . . . A captivating, heart-warming tale and a delightful, inspiring read.” —Joanna Burger, author of The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship

An avian expert and poet shares a true story of beloved birds, a remarkable grandfather, a bad-girl youth—and an astonishing redemption

Nikki Moustaki, author of The Bird Market of Paris, grew up in 1980s Miami, the only child of parents who worked, played, and traveled for luxury sports car dealerships. At home, her doting grandmother cooked for and fed her, but it was her grandfather—an evening-gown designer, riveting storyteller, and bird expert—who was her mentor and dearest companion.

Like her grandfather, Nikki fell hard for birds. "Birds filled my childhood," she writes, "as blue filled the sky." Her grandfather showed her how to hypnotize chickens, sneak up on pigeons, and handle baby birds. He gave her a white dove to release for luck on each birthday. And he urged her to, someday, visit the bird market of Paris.

But by the time Nikki graduated from college and moved to New York City, she was succumbing to alcohol and increasingly unable to care for her flock. When her grandfather died, guilt-ridden Nikki drank even more. In a last-ditch effort to honor her grandfather, she flew to France hoping to visit the bird market of Paris to release a white dove. Instead, something astonishing happened there that saved Nikki’s life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:58 -0400)

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