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Nonfiction Review: H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

Title: H is for Hawk

Author: Helen MacDonald
Year published: 2016
Category: Adult nonfiction
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)UK, USA (ME)

Summary: [Note: there isn't much of a summary of this book so I've put extra information about it from the Amazon "summary."]

ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)

The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of nature's most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel's temperament mirrors Helen's own state of grief after her father's death, and together raptor and human "discover the pain and beauty of being alive" (People). H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices. 

Review: My niece suggested this book when we were at my other niece's college graduation in the spring. I had heard of the book vaguely and saw that it was by someone with my initials (not only that, but my same first name!) and they said they were really enjoying the book. So I got a copy.

I did not enjoy this book as much as Serena did, but there are aspects of it that I found fascinating. What didn't I like so much? The looking back to previous hawk trainers (think men from hundreds of years back and through the early 20th century, particularly Mr. White). 

What I did like was the story of the author training her goshawk (Mabel), getting to know both of them (for the reader truly feels like we know Mabel), learning about goshawks (who knew they had an optimal flying weight?!), and the relationship between MacDonald and Mabel. Those parts were super interesting and quite emotional at times. I was pulled into the training and rooted for both Helen and Mabel when they were moving on to the next step of training or when something was tense. I feel like I learned so much about goshawks, falconry, the science of feeding and training, all while reading a good story.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Nonfiction
  • Popsugar--by an author with my initials: HM

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