My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who Turned His Yard into Habitat and Learned to Live with It

James Barilla. Yale Univ., $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-300-18401-3
At the beginning of this book, Barilla, who teaches creative nonfiction and environmental writing at the University of South Carolina and formerly worked in wildlife research and management, describes the process by which his yard received certification from the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife-friendly habitat. Fortunately, relatively little of this book deals with local phenomena. Barilla goes very far afield to look at such fauna issues as the “monkey menace” in New Delhi, India, the attempt to contain the growing bear population in and around Northampton, Mass., the work of urban beekeepers in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the struggle for survival of marmosets in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In a chapter on a possible infestation of his home by rats or squirrels, Barilla relates his very human desire to contain such “night visitors” and describes the traps used to eliminate rodents. More often, though, his focus is on the “zooopolis”: the intersection of, and uneasy accommodation between, the human and animal realms. Barilla is a fine stylist—his writing is thoughtful, colorful, and sometimes wittily self-deprecating—who helps us to better understand the unfamiliar natural world near our homes and to realize how many habitats coexist on Earth. Agent: Wendy Strothman, the Strothman Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 376 pages - 978-0-300-18599-7
Paperback - 363 pages - 978-0-300-20566-4
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