An avian expert and poet braids her bad-girl youth, her beloved pet birds, and her remarkable grandfather into one true story of love, loss, and redemption.
Nikki Moustaki grew up in the flashy, money-flowing Miami of the 1980s and ‘90s, the only child of parents who worked, played and traveled for luxury sport car dealerships. At home, her paternal grandmother cooked for and fed her, and her grandfather--an evening dress designer, a riveting storyteller, and a pet bird expert--doted on her and mentored her. He was her dearest friend and companion.
As a child, Nikki fell for all animals, but especially birds. “Birds filled my childhood,” she writes, “as blue filled the sky.” Her grandfather showed her how to care for birds. He gave her a white dove to release on each birthday. He told her about the parrots in golden cages that lined the palace steps in Egypt. He reminded her that, someday, she must visit the miraculous bird market of Paris.
As a teen, though, Nikki fell hard for alcohol. And by the time she had graduated from college and moved New York City, she was unable to care for her flock—birds with names like Bonk and Sweetie, Jessie and Little Miss Mango. One day, drunk at two in the afternoon, she gave her last, beloved feathered friend to a stranger.
By the time her grandfather died, she was guilty and ill. To make amends, she pulled herself together as best she could and flew to Europe to visit the bird market of Paris. There, something astonishing happens. A last gift from her grandfather.
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