Book review: City Chicks by Patricia Foreman


I don’t enjoy writing negative book reviews, but I do enjoy warning people about substandard products and other potential pitfalls, so that’s how I’ll look at this.

This is apparently Patricia Foreman’s third book. I didn’t look into who published the other three but this publisher apparently saved money on editing by not editing. This book is fraught with typos – none of which should have made it past a copyeditor (“hay bails” [pg 59], “they will keep the it clear of bugs” [pg 51], “flood plane” [pg 119]) and some of which shouldn’t even have made it past spellcheck (“the animal breaths it in” [pg 86], “boxs” [pg 115]). It’s lamentable and distracting, and worst of all, it makes you doubt the author’s credibility. Why didn’t the publisher proofread? you find yourself wondering. Are they just a poorly run outfit or did they lack some kind of confidence in the author?

I wish that was my only complaint, but I’m afraid I have more. The pages are sprinkled with low-res digital line drawings (like the kind you used to make in Paintbrush to accompany middle school research papers) that are simple to the point of being hard to understand. (Is that a wattle or is that poorly placed oval supposed to indicate that the hen has her mouth open?) When you finally tear yourself away from contemplating the doodles and incomprehensible flow charts (Why do all these chickens have belly buttons? Is that arrow pointing at the lawnmower or the old lady?) you are confronted with an onslaught of anthropomorphism: the author details chicken skill sets, chicken personalities, chicken training, etc.

I will readily confess that I did not finish the book. I gave up (snarling) somewhere in the first quarter of the book, incapable of retaining any actual information given all the distractions. The first several pages of the book are covered in high praise from an array of sources, so perhaps if you can shut off your internal editor (which I cannot) you can enjoy the book and learn from it.

— Amanda


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