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Alfie and Me

What Owls Know, What Humans Believe

by Carl Safina

Alfie and Me by Carl Safina X
Alfie and Me by Carl Safina
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  • Publishes
    Oct 3, 2023
    384 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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There are currently 11 member reviews
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  • Mary S. (Edmonds, WA)
    Alfie-A connection to nature and a better humanity
    This was the first book I have read by this author and it made me so much more aware of the magic of every day life. It left me wanting to spend more time outdoors and immerse myself in nature. The author details the relationship he develops with an owl he rescues and then the family she creates. There is also a story of how we as humans lost our way and became disconnected from nature, as well as viewed our environment as a possession rather than a gift to be valued and protected. I found it fascinating the history he provided through science, religion and philosophy that have resulted us arriving where we are today. I recommend this book as a way to open your eyes and see more clearly the responsibility we have to our world.
  • Mary H. (Latham, NY)
    This Book is a Gem
    I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful story about nature in general and specifically the rescue of an eastern screech owl named Alfie.

    To follow Alfie's journey is to be privy to a part of nature few see up close. She blossoms from a near death bunch of ragged feathers to a magnificent representation of her species. Most incredible, without parents to teach her, we watch her instincts take over and she learns how to hunt, fend off predators, find a mate, select appropriate living quarters and raise beautiful babies.

    Interspersed with Alfie's story, the author shares what he has learned over the years from interviewing members of indigenous tribes throughout the globe. Although these tribes have no contact, they all expressed the same beliefs. At their core they believe nature is to be respected and nurtured since every living thing is part of the great web of life. If you harm any part of nature, the damage will be felt around the globe. We would be well advised to listen to their message as the damage we have done to the planet becomes more apparent each day.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves beautiful nature stories. Alfie's journey is well worth a read.
  • Janet S. (Terrace Park, OH)
    A Magical Story
    Alfie and Me is a moving story of an orphaned little screech owl and the effect it has on the author's life. After the author and his wife took in this little bird, they expected it would only last for a short period of time. Alfie becomes an integral part of their daily lives and they learn so much from this little bird. What a true bond is shared among all. When Alfie eventually finds a mate and raises a brood, she is still drawn to the author.
    It was a magical book and I learned a lot too!
  • Carole S. (Whittier, NC)
    Alfie & Me, not just about an Owl.
    Being an avid birder I wanted to read this book with the cute Screech Owl on the cover. I thought that it would be an interesting and entertaining story of a man and his relationship with a young owl that he rescued. He certainly loves his owl and it is a great story,
    yet it turns out to be about so much more than his time raising this owl. The book is insightful, thoughtful and even spiritual at times.
    His writing is sometimes poetic. It is not a light read and it provides much to ponder. Looking back over many centuries of thinkers, philosophers, and scientists, readers are shown that what we in the West have come to believe, does affect our relationships with other people and the planet. Safina's book has stayed with me and kept me thinking about it after I finished the last page. Those who are interested in western philosophy and ecology would enjoy this book.
  • Laura C. (Woodworth, LA)
    Alfie & Me
    Carl Safina's rescue and rehab of a tiny injured screech owl near his Long Island home is a heart-warming story of dedication, perseverance and ultimate success. My enjoyment of Alfie's story, however, was diminished by the author's "philosophical musings" (Publishers Weekly) which are many, often lengthy and clearly reflect Safina's extensive knowledge of the deep historical and philosophical connections between man and nature. But the very frequent switching from Alfie's story to these musings was distracting to the continuity of the story, so much so that this reader sometimes skipped over them. I recommend this book to readers who are interested in a beautiful story as well as a seriously deep dive into the myriad aspects of natural history.
  • Martha G. (Columbia, MO)
    Alfie and Me
    Not having read anything by this author, Carl Safina, I was especially impressed with his language and organization of thought. The book is a philosophical masterpiece. History of Indigenous people, history of "religious" experience, and history of man's relationship to the natural world become as much of the story as Alfie. As much as I admired the author's vast knowledge and ability to convey these concepts, it made for a slow read for me. I was expecting more of the day to day living experiences of the family and their pets. It is a beautiful story, but not one I would recommend to a casual reader.
  • Roberta W. (Los Ranchos, NM)
    Life Lessons from an Owl
    Alfie and Me is the story of the rescue and rehabilitation of an eastern screech owl by Carl Safina and his wife. But this book is more than that. The Covid pandemic forced Carl and his wife to be at home the entire time that Alfie was in their care. This allowed Safina to observe much more about this owl and its place in the world. A great deal of the book is devoted to a review of humanity's relationship to the wild world. Safina examines other cultures' views of the natural world most of which are far more enlightened than our own.

    Safina provides details about Alfie's progress and ultimate release back into the wild and this includes his own internal struggles about the timing of the release. He struggled because he knew the risks that face these magical creatures. I did think that he anthropomorphized a great deal onto this owl, but I understand how easy it is to do that. These creatures are special and we like to think we know what they might be "feeling" or "thinking". The job of a rehabilitator is to make sure that these animals remain wild and that they don't become tame, no matter the dangers that face them.

    I am a bird wildlife rehabilitator so I was especially anxious to read this book. I enjoyed the book, although my major criticism is that he never fully explains that it is illegal to keep a wild bird unless you are a licensed rehabilitator. I worry that his book, without this detail, would encourage a person to take in and keep a bird (especially a cute owl). I have seen this happen time and time again. Someone finds an injured or orphaned animal, and takes it into his care, thinking they can look up on the internet how to do it. Then after some time when the animal is not thriving they finally bring it to a rehabilitation center so that they can "fix" it. Most often it is too late.

    I enjoyed the book and recommend it.
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