Enslaved by Ducks

Enslaved by Ducks

by Bob Tarte


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When Bob Tarte bought a house in rural Michigan, he was counting on a tranquil haven. Then Bob married Linda. She wanted a rabbit, which seemed, at the time, innocuous enough. But that was just the beginning. Wouldn't a parrot be cute? Linda said. Bob suddenly found himself constructing pens, buying feed, clearing duck waste, spoonfeeding at mealtime. One day he realized he'd become a servant to a relentlessly demanding family, and a motley crew it was.

Writing as someone who's been ambushed by the way in which animals, even cranky ones, can wend their way into the heart, Bob Tarte reveals the truth of animal ownership—and who really owns whom.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781565124509
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 10/01/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 413,876
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Bob Tarte wrote for The Beat magazine for twenty years. He has also written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Miami New Times, the Whole Earth Review, and other publications. He hosts the What Were You Thinking? podcast for petliferadio.com. He and his wife Linda live in Lowell, Michigan, and currently serve the whims of parrots, ducks, geese, parakeets, a rabbit, doves, hens, one turkey, and way too many cats.

Table of Contents

Cast of Charactersviii
Chapter 1Belligerent Binky9
Chapter 2Ollie Takes Over28
Chapter 3Stanley Sue's Identity Crisis45
Chapter 4Howard the Clumsy Romeo67
Chapter 5The Real Trouble Begins89
Chapter 6A Wild Duck Chase110
Chapter 7Raccoon Rustlers127
Chapter 8Enslaved by Ducks146
Chapter 9Creatures of Habit169
Chapter 10Let's Talk Turkey189
Chapter 11Who Cooks for You?209
Chapter 12Comings and Goings226
Chapter 13Hazel Eyes250
Chapter 14Weaver in the Weeds271
Chapter 15The Parrot Who Hated Me291
Acknowledgments and Culpability310

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"All of us who feel a deep emotional connection with animals will respond to this book. As Bob Tarte realizes, there is no drug or therapy as effective as an animal who loves you."
—Jeffrey Masson, author of When Elephants Weep

"A beautiful, honest, hilarous, and touching book about the subtle and blatant ways animal companions take over our lives. It's impossible to read Enslaved by Ducks and not fall just a little bit in love with bob Tarte, his charming, heroic wife, Linda, and their menagerie."
—Jana Murphy, author of The Secret Lives of Dogs

Customer Reviews

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Enslaved by Ducks 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
thkosan More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone with ducks, parrots, bunnies and/or geese -- or city dwellers who lust after living on a bit of acreage populated with pets. Although this non-fictional story was engaging and engrossing in itself, I was constantly impressed and forced to linger over well-written turns of phrase. This guy is a talented writer, and his ability to describe a situation with color and style made this a real treat to read. I laughed, I cried, I laughed again and I cried again. What an emotional roller coaster we animal-lovers have to endure. Some people who exchew pets just can't comprehend the extreme dedication and love we animal lovers invest in our pets, and the joy we receive in return. If you are one of them, read this book. You'll understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For animal lovers and non-animal lovers...this is one hysterically funny and touching book. Bob Tarte is an amazing writer! The story of a man who falls head over heals in love with a mismatched bunch of fowl, felines, and rabbits and all of their 'hijinks'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I'd read a review that described it as laugh-out-loud funny. I laughed a few times, but it is more absorbing than amusing. It's the story of a man who never imagined himself as he is now: enslaved by ducks (among his and his wife's many other companions). As with any story about our critter friends, there are sad moments when they die, triumphant moments when they recover from seemingly hopeless conditions and injuries, and the realization that they know if we truly love them or not. The Tarte's love and respect for their animals is evident throughout, and make this book a joy to read.
-Pentabulous More than 1 year ago
If you love animals and need some laughter therapy, this is the book for you. As a pet lover, I identified with the author's predicament as his pets gradually took over his life. Ducks are not the only pets to "rule the roost" in this story. Buy the book--it's cheaper than therapy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I pick up this book and could not put it down untill it was finished!! great book All animals lovers should own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the course of reading this book, I had to deal with the death of one of our cats, a pet I had for almost 15 years, a pet similar to Bob and Linda's Binky-she could drive us crazy. It was comforting to have this book to read, to know that I was not alone in loving an animal in all its funny and annoying forms,then seeing it through the end of its life. Honest, touching, hysterical.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I rarely have ever read a book a second time, but I am just finishing this book once more, and may even read it again. I enjoyed the personal stories Bob shared. I never imagined that a book about someone else's life and animals could be so interesting and funny, even though I own many of my own animals. However, I decided to give it a try and checked it out from the library just to see what it was like. I ended up buying my own copy because I wanted to be able to loan it out to other people who might like it as well. (Also so I could read it again myself, of course!) I identified with the way he feels about his animals, and the amount of time and thought each requires. I hope he will write more stories in a future book. His humor reminds me of Dave Barry's. (I've read all of Dave's books, so I need more of Bob's or his to continue my reading pleasure--a person can only read the same book so many times, right?)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. Bob and his Wife Linda go from a normal home to a completely crazy home that felt even more normal than before! They acquire what may be an insane amount of animals. They learn some hard lessons, and gain experience. You really get to watch them grow as people. My personal experience with this book, was finding out that I'm not alone in the world! With 7 or 8 pets in my house it was a great feeling to see what happened to me happen to someone else, even to a greater extreme. I was crying, laughing, and reading it to everyone in my family. You should give this book a chance. You wont put it down! I'm a terrible writer, but trust me when I say, everyone will love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love all his books. Very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellant book for the poultry and waterfowl lovers like me :)
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olgalijo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though the writing was correct, and the book itself wasn't difficult to read, that's as positive as I can get about "Enslaved by Ducks". I can not connect with a man that makes an art out of whining. Tarte complains about getting his first pets, about getting depressed because of losing the pets he never wanted and always complained about, about not being able to tell his wife that he doesn't want more pets, and about using the pets as an excuse to take anti depressants. He seems to want to give a redeeming tint to all this whining by implying at the end that he is happy, being "enslaved by ducks", but it feels more likea loser who doesn't care about finding a better situation.
PamelaBarrett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A funny little jewel of a book. Loved it, and you will too if you love animals. Is one pet ever enough?
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good book telling what it is like to be surrounded by animals.
Amryn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is hilarious--I read a review on this site and immediately picked it up. A refreshingly humorous tale that not only warns the reader of several irascible duck breeds but also offers advice if your sudden menagerie of animals turns into a veritable circus. The descriptions of hard-won relationships and comical anecdotes are both heartwarming and entertaining--a wonderful book.
mckait on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an entertaining read. Enslaved by Ducks is the first of two books telling the story of Bob Tarte, His wife and family of pets. The author tells of being a young man who was completely disinterested in the animal kingdom to someone who has learned the joys of life with pets after being dragged kicking and screaming into this knowledge by his wife Linda. Linda is a unique individual whose empathy with animals is legendary.Their story is told by Bob himself in such a humorous and entertaining way that fifty pages into this book I had purchased the next one, Fowl Weather.
ikhaya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I expected too much. After reading "Life in the Goat Lane" I was anticipating something similar. I am struggling to get through the book right now.
SatansParakeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amusing tale of a man who semi-inadvertently converts his house in the country to a veritable farm. Bob starts out hating almost every animal he and his wife come to own and then gradually begin to love them so that it is heartbreaking when they pass on. The book is an enjoyable read, but it was marred somewhat by my desire to strangle Bob every time he picks up another animal while simultaneously explaining to himself and the audience why the new acquisition is a terrible idea.
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