Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"You be good. I love you." Those were the last words Alex uttered to his trainer and long-time friend, Dr. Irene Pepperberg. Even writing them now nearly brings me to tears. This book was excellent. While it started off a bit pompous with Dr. Pepperberg touting her extreme intelligence by using inflated verbs and various 20 and 30 dollar words in Chapter 1, it really told a wonderful story. Yes, this was a story about how Alex learned to use labels and how he learned how to differentiate between objects, sizes, quantities, etc. But, it was about more than that. It was about a connection that develops between human and animal, especially when they are spending so much time together. Having my own African Grey, I feel really made me connect to this book, more than potentially a non-owner might. That being said, I think that anyone who reads this book would enjoy it, and especially if you are a pet owner. The way that Dr. Pepperberg interwove stories of Alex's achievements and studies with stories of just how he acted on a day to day, were wonderful. I read this book outloud to my fiance and while we had times where we cried, we also had many many times where we would bust up laughing. Alex had quite the personality and I can only imagine what it would have been like to actually meet him. All of that being said, I HIGHLY recommend this book.
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