*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Relegated to a life without hope for anything more than a squalid existence at the bottom of the pecking order, Petunia, a backyard chicken, lives out her days in a flock where gossip flows as currency, with malice at its heart and boredom by its side. Petunia’s plight seems insurmountable until a strange woman’s tears hurl her through a labyrinth that she never anticipated and into a friendship she might not survive.
Blurb: Haunted by her near death at the beak of the maniacal Bernadette, Petunia, the backyard chicken, confronts betrayal at the hands of her beloved human, Silkie, and the uncertain future of her unlikely champion, the obstreperous blue-eyed feline, Macy.
As “The Two Tails” opens, the flock descends into a spiral of death and disappearance. Ensnared by a rapacious raccoon and desperate for a way out, Petunia throws herself at the mercy of the dark, open road with little more than gumption, a pair of useless wings, and a dubious companion as her guide.
Steeped in tension and brimming with humor, “Impeccable Petunia” is an unflinching exploration of the vulnerable, the powerless, and the entanglements that define our closest bonds as mothers, daughters, sisters and friends, all through the eyes of a remarkable hen who can’t seem to learn her place.
In this life, there’s always a pecking order.
Impeccable Petunia started off reminding me of Chicken Run, with the solo chicken with big ideas running foul of the peck mentality! However, Impeccable Petunia is far more adult and nuanced that such comedy romps, and developed more along the lines of Watership Down or Animal Farm as the story progressed.
Petunia’s story starts off as one of being #notlikeotherchicks but becomes a tale of facing your fears, bravery, loyalty and never giving up. Her relationships with other animals/people – Macy, Felix, Wakefield, Silkie etc – are complex and nuanced, with Petunia realising that she has prejudged people unfairly and learning more about human (*ahem* animal) nature as she experiences more of the world.
There are two main story threads here: Petunia’s quest to escape the restrictions of the hen yard and then to find her friend, Macy, against all of the odds; and the political machinations of the hen yard, with its rigid but corrupt pecking order and shadowy power-grab shenanigans.
Part 1 of the story is really an introduction to the characters and settings, but in Part 2 the story really takes off and there is plenty of action, adventure and some great character development.
Anyone looking for a commentary on human society, but with insight and knowledge into the animal kingdom too, need look no further… Petunia is the chick(en) for you!
With the paint swatch tucked tightly in her beak, Petunia fluttered to the top of the bench, and dropped it on the woman’s lap. In awe, she stared at Petunia, admiring her stark feathers and fitting fiery headdress. For the little chicken, a love of all things bright and beautiful came naturally. Science tells us that chickens can see many more colors than humans. While the other hens denied their inherent talent, Petunia embraced her gift.
– Katie Christine, Impeccable Petunia: Part I