An acclaimed journalist seeks to understand the mysterious allure of peacocks—and in the process discovers unexpected and valuable life lessons.
2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence Longlist Selection
When Sean Flynn’s neighbor in North Carolina texted “Any chance you guys want a peacock? No kidding!” he stared bewilderedly at his phone. He had never considered whether he wanted a peacock. But as an award-winning magazine writer, this kind of mystery intrigued him. So he, his wife, and their two young sons became the owners of not one but three charming yet fickle birds: Carl, Ethel, and Mr. Pickle.
In Why Peacocks?, Flynn chronicles his hilarious and heartwarming first year as a peacock owner, from struggling to build a pen to assisting the local bird doctor in surgery to triumphantly watching a peahen lay her first egg. He also examines the history of peacocks, from their appearance in the Garden of Eden to their befuddling Charles Darwin to their bewitching the likes of Flannery O’Connor and Martha Stewart. And fueled by a reporter’s curiosity, he travels across the globe to learn more about the birds firsthand, with stops including a Scottish castle where peacocks have resided for centuries, a southern California community tormented by a serial killer of peacocks, and a Kansas City airport hotel hosting an annual gathering of true peafowl aficionados.
At turns comically absurd and deeply poignant, Why Peacocks? blends lively, insightful memoir and illuminating science journalism to answer the title’s question. More than that, it offers surprising lessons about love, grief, fatherhood, and family.
Sean Flynn is a National Magazine Award–winning journalist and author who's reported from six continents during the past thirty years. A long-time correspondent for GQ, his work has been widely anthologized and translated into nearly a dozen languages. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two boys.
"Narrator Vikas Adam uses jaunty humor while performing Flynn's memoir of his experiences with unusual pets—specifically peacocks. Adam's ironic tone gives this audiobook the feel of a novel, and his excellent timing contributes to a laugh-out-loud listening experience. The overall effect is that of a unique story being told by a very dramatic friend. Deftly woven throughout is information on the history of the legendary birds themselves, which Adam handles with ease. This mix of the personal and the historical is an unexpected combination. Listeners looking for something out of the ordinary will soak up Adam's lively performance."