In this delightful memoir, a woman at loose ends finds true love while rescuing destitute birds and is inspired to adopt a child. Tender, witty, and rewarding, Wild Within is a story about overcoming fear (of beaks, talons, and parenthood!) and saving oneself through saving others.
"Hart (Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood) was a depressed, recently separated transplant to Eugene, Oregon, when she met Jonathan, a volunteer at Cascades Raptor rehabilitation center, who was equally unlucky in love. What follows is the harrowing story of would-be adoptive parents and the redemptive powers of dedication to a cause, laid out in brutally honest detail. The couple's courtship begins with a road trip to retrieve six hundred pounds of frozen rats to feed the center's raptors and ends with a wedding featuring an owl ring bearer and the release of a newly healthy red-tailed hawk. While Hart begins spending time at the center to be with Jonathan, she learns quickly that volunteers often "found themselves rehabilitated along with the birds." The book follows the couple as they embark on a long, painful process to adopt a child. They find themselves shut out from adopting in Korea, and China, suffering relationship-threatening tension and a stressful social worker's visit in a home containing "half-empty Merlot bottles, eight shedding pets, and husband's collection of animal skulls." Meanwhile, Hart develops affection for a human-imprinted snowy owl named Archimedes and becomes resolved to train him despite his reputation as a "difficult bird." These twin narratives skillfully woven together make for an exciting and endearingroller coaster of a memoir."
- Publishers Weekly
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Melissa Hart is a nature and travel writer and the author of Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood. She teaches feature and travel writing at the University of Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband and their daughter.