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Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir por…
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Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir (edição 2016)

por Chris Packham

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1176177,942 (3.88)7
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.… (mais)
Membro:TheEllieMo
Título:Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir
Autores:Chris Packham
Informação:Ebury Digital, Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:to-read

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Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir por Chris Packham

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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
An illuminating and honestly honest autobiography of growing up different.
I’m a couple of years younger than Chris Packham, so I recognised a lot of the references to late sixties and early seventies culture; the sweets, toys and TV programmes. But his intense interest in biology and the natural world was very different from my own, even though I was bookish.
This interest is illustrated by a patchwork of word portraits, which bob back and forth through Packham’s life, to allow you to glimpse how he lived. Fragments of his experience, which you can put together to piece together his motivations.
As he puts it: “It’s actually just about never actually achieving anything. It’s all about the trying, the striving, the grinding on towards getting a little bit better. In truth I suppose it’s not really about winning at all, it’s about not giving up” ( )
  CarltonC | Jul 16, 2020 |
Beautiful and terribly sad account of Chris Packham's childhood. His developing love of nature and the impact of alienation from other people who didn't understand his neurodiversity ( )
  AccyP | Mar 3, 2019 |
I absolutely loved this book. I was a huge fan of The Really Wild Show as a child (starring Chris Packham of course), and love his more recent TV work too. This is very much a memoir, and not an autobiography, if you see the difference. The focus is a single traumatic event in his teens, the buildup to it, and the repercussions in his life afterwards. It is written in a rather unusual style, flitting back and forth chronologically, and often told in the third person. The language is incredibly rich and poetic. His egg stealing activities in childhood contrast sharply with his environmental campaigning today, but are both born out of an intense love for the natural world. Coincidentally, as I was reading this, he was arrested in Malta on trumped up assault charges after he reported some locals for illegally shooting and trapping migratory birds, a major cause of the decline in populations across Europe which he has been documenting. This really is a man who lives and breathes nature. ( )
1 vote eclecticdodo | Apr 27, 2017 |
He's a born writer. More than that, he's a born poet. Read it and see- just beautiful. His style's really out there, sometimes tipping over into hyperbole, but never mind...sometimes it must have really hurt him to write. One of the best autobiographies I've ever read, and I'm 68 next month... ( )
  honeybee5 | Jan 12, 2017 |
Fingers in the Sparkle Jar is Chris Packham’s highly acclaimed memoir, in which he talks with great honesty about his childhood, his obsession with animals and the natural world, the struggle he had feeling different to other kids, and the depression which led him to contemplate suicide.

“I’m sorry, I haven’t got change of a ladybird.’
The ice-cream man had opened the matchbox expecting a sixpence but instead found a six-spotted beetle that was now scuttling manically over his counter, defiantly refusing reinternment in its crisp little cell despite repeated repositioning.”

The structure is somewhat unusual for an autobiography – and yet it really works well. For a start events are not told chronologically – the majority of the book is slowly building to a particular incident in 1975 – which was so painfully life changing for the young Chris. Although this event takes place when he is just fourteen it is related something like 250 pages into the book. By which time, we know Chris well enough to realise just what impact it had. Many sections are actually told in the third person, again this is unusual for an autobiography, in this way we get to know some of his neighbours, an elderly WW1 veteran, kids from school and the ice-cream van man alongside a more distanced view of Chris himself. Other chapters revert to a more conventional first person narrative, which is necessarily more personal and intimate. When I saw Chris Packham interviewed by Horatio Clare at Hay, he explained a little about why he had structured his memoir in this way. He had wanted his adult readers to have an adult perspective of his childhood. The whole thing is beautiful, in prose both lyrical and intimate, it is an unforgettable, coming of age memoir which I think is worth all the hype. The narrative is suffused with Chris Packham’s voice, and his not infrequent wry humour.

“Unfalling, the bird stands chopping air, fluttering and then rolling down smooth, slipping and then sliding away to ring a curve across the storm until it pitches at its apex and begins to dance with the wind, its plumes constantly shaken, folding and flicking to steer it still and… balance broken it tumbles and steadies with a twist of grey – cloud-licked and clean, now measuring the weight of the sky again. Then a drop, deckling wings furling – waiting, rich brown back and freckled front – watching, and then the ground quickly surges up and swallows it into the scrolling grass, sucks it down in a greedy rush. And it’s stopped, nothing happens now.”

The majority of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar tells the story of Chris Packham’s childhood leading up to and including the summer he was fourteen when he acquired a young kestrel and began to train it. From a very young boy Chris was fascinated by all kinds of wildlife. Obsessional, a loner at school, Chris only felt at peace in the open spaces, fields and woods close to his suburban home. His obsessions varied and changed over time, a dinosaur phase replaced by an otter phase, and so on. He collected all manner of tiny creatures in jam jars where they were frequently left to expire in the sun on his window sill. In the company of the young Chris, we taste tadpoles off a spoon, watch fox clubs at dusk, plead to be allowed to see One million years BC (an A rated film, he needed an adult to take him), and visit Portswood Pets almost weekly where he could visit the caiman and the fruit bats he so coveted for his own. Then that summer in 1975 Chris steals a young kestrel from a nest and takes it home to rear and train. The relationship the teenage Chris develops with this bird is life changing, teaching this awkward, frequently frustrated boy, what it means to connect with and love another creature.

“Once at home my father had regained his composure and held it down wrapped in an old tea towel whilst I attached the jesses and bells, the pencil pre-training not counting for much. Then I’d fed it some beef, banished my sister from the room and settled down for what my mother assured me would be a ‘long old night.’ But 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.”

Alongside the accounts of Chris’s adventures with wild life as a young boy – are some first-hand accounts of sessions with his therapist in 2003 after Chris had come close to taking his own life.

This is an incredible book; I hope Chris Packham continues writing (he referred to some short stories written years ago simply as an exercise for himself during that talk – I for one would love to read them.) If you are reading this book in the future – don’t forget to read the acknowledgements in which Chris pays a lovely tribute to his parents. ( )
2 vote Heaven-Ali | Oct 31, 2016 |
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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.

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