"Every minute was magical, every single thing it did was fascinating and everything it didn't do was equally wondrous, and to be sat there, with a Kestrel, a real live Kestrel, my own real live Kestrel on my wrist! I felt like I'd climbed through a hole in heaven's fence."
An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham was only at home in the fields and woods around his suburban home. But when he stole a young kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love, and that would change him forever. In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the 70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds' eggs and sweaty jam jars, to his feral adventures. But pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn't understand him. Beautifully wrought, this coming-of-age memoir will be unlike any you've ever read.
TV presenter, photographer and conservationist Chris Packham is one of the nation's favourite naturalists. He is best known for the BAFTA-winning The Really Wild Show and fronting BBC's Springwatch and Autumnwatch. Packham is president of the British Trust for Ornithology, Hawk Conservancy Trust, the Hampshire Ornithological Society and the Bat Conservation Trust and vice-president of the RSPB and the Butterfly Conservation. In 2011, he was awarded the British Trust for Ornithology's Dilys Breese Medal for his 'outstanding work in promoting science to new audiences'. Packham's partner Charlotte Corney owns the Isle of Wight Zoo, and his step-daughter is studying zoology at Southampton University. He lives in the New Forest with his two dogs, Itchy and Scratchy.
"[...] This is not a cosy book and certainly not a typical memoir. Despite a recent resurgence in natural history writing, it is hard to find equivalents in other books, either for the structure or in the style of the writing. Whilst it may not be to everyone's taste, it has clearly had a major impact on many of the people who have read it. I would say give it a try and if the first few pages leave you unsure, keep reading."
– Ian Carter, British Birds Volume 110, January 2017
"[...] Chris’s amazing communication skills are brought to the fore in this book. The mix of the most engaging wildlife writing, edgy backstory and open and honest approach makes this book a must read. I’ve only just finished this book and I want to read it again!"
– Paul Stancliffe, BTO book reviews