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Chickenshit: Everything you need to know but would rather not
By Thomas Garber
If you’ve ever been told to “wait for it” then you’ll love reading Garber’s book!
Chickenshit: Everything you need to know but would rather not, is a hilarious take on fairy tales, fables, and legends as adapted and perhaps fabricated by the author and his son during long rides to and from doctor’s appointments containing a proclivity to have a wise old man, in this case, it is a chicken, who appears and plays a role in all the stories. The Wise Old Chicken is sometimes portrayed as the main character, other times as a narrator or commentator that seems to be the one to enlighten, educate, and reveal a penchant for truth and morals. Each story is a read-alone tale with humor for a more mature reader; leave Aesop’s Fables for the kids!
As a whole, Chickenshit is a series of tales taken from old tales and half-tales in which the lesson to learn leaps out in a natural, often anticipated ending by the reader. The author gives the impression that one is reading a well-known story while adding silly twists and comical turns to enhance each one. In some of the stories Garber has taken real-life situations and changed them into animal tales and fables as one might expect to read in a children’s book but gives each story an adage and lesson from The Wise Old Chicken. The hilarity of each tale can be foreseen in the title, like The Tree That Couldn’t Fly and The Mushroom Who Loved Bobby Pins. The tales begin almost childlike but each one contains a bit of common sense, which the chicken usually identifies. Most of the adventures are humorous simply because they are what I might describe as sarcastic tales pointing out common sense.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars because it is light reading, fun, and although seemingly nonsensical, makes so much sense! A few of the tales were a bit long, making the reader anxious to just get to the end, but even in stories like this, you want to finish it just to see what role The Wise Old Chicken plays in the story. I would definitely recommend this book.
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I wrote the stories in this book to be unusual and fun. The idea to do this emerged from an incident of horror. No doubt my own subconscious reactions played a part.
Five years ago in Knoxville, my younger son David, aged 40, was unconscious after a traffic accident. A fire broke out inside the car and spread rapidly. The windows were up, the doors locked. He spent several minutes breathing flames.
Bystanders tried desperately to help. One of them finally smashed the window and reached into the fire to open the door from the inside so they could drag David free.
When my wife Anna and I heard what had happened our son had already been flown to the Vanderbilt Hospital Burn Unit in Nashville, 180 miles from Knoxville. We drove there straight away. David was in an induced coma, intubated and connected to a myriad of tubes and wires. The doctors gave us little hope; the inside of his lungs had been burned too much.
They wanted us to talk to him. So we did that. We stood on either side of his bed talking to our dying son. I never felt more helpless in my life. His wife, Stephanie, did the same in our absence and stayed by his side for weeks.
His voice has been radically affected, and he will likely always need access to oxygen. But he is alive, and he can laugh, two things I hold equally dear.
Over the next year or so he had many appointments at Vanderbilt. He and I made the 360-mile round trip in a day. On one of these drives back to Knoxville we set the stage for the stories in this book.
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