Synopses & Reviews
On September 6, 2007, an African Grey parrot named Alex died prematurely at age thirty-one. His last words to his owner, Irene Pepperberg, were "You be good. I love you."
What would normally be a quiet, very private event was, in Alex's case, headline news. Over the thirty years they had worked together, Alex and Irene had become famous—two pioneers who opened an unprecedented window into the hidden yet vast world of animal minds. Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut, and when Irene and Alex first met, birds were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet, over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality: We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures.
The fame that resulted was extraordinary. Yet there was a side to their relationship that never made the papers. They were emotionally connected to one another. They shared a deep bond far beyond science. Alex missed Irene when she was away. He was jealous when she paid attention to other parrots, or even people. He liked to show her who was boss. He loved to dance. He sometimes became bored by the repetition of his tests, and played jokes on her. Sometimes they sniped at each other. Yet nearly every day, they each said, "I love you."
Alex and Irene stayed together through thick and thin—despite sneers from experts, extraordinary financial sacrifices, and a nomadic existence from one university to another. The story of their thirty-year adventure is equally a landmark of scientific achievement and of an unforgettable human-animal bond.
“To anyone whos dreamed of talking with the animals, Dr. Doolittle style, Alex was a revelation…This ornery reviewer tried to resist Alexs charms on principle. But his achievements got the better of me…Alex was a celebrity, and this book will surely please his legions of fans.” New York Times Book Review
“[Pepperbergs] book movingly combines the scientific detail of a researcher...with the affectionate understanding that children instinctively possess....” Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Highly readable...” Booklist
“A fascinating look at animal intelligence, Pepperbergs tale is also a love story between beings who sometimes ‘squabble like an old married couple but whose bond broke only with Alexs death at 31 in ‘07. Irresistible.” People
“A moving tribute that beautifully evokes ‘the struggles, the initial triumphs, the setbacks, the unexpected and often stunning achievements during a grounbreaking scientific endeavor...” Publishers Weekly
Alex & Me "is the remarkable true story of an extraordinary relationship between psychologist Irene M. Pepperberg and Alex, an African Grey parrot who proved scientists and accepted wisdom wrong by demonstrating an astonishing ability to communicate and understand complex ideas. A New York Times "bestseller and selected as one ofthe paper scritic s "Top Ten Books of the Year, Alex & Me "is much more that the story of an incredible scientific breakthrough. It s a poignant love story and an affectionate remembrance of Pepperberg s irascible, unforgettable, and always surprising best friend."
Alex & Me is the remarkable true story of an extraordinary relationship between psychologist Irene M. Pepperberg and Alex, an African Grey parrot who proved scientists and accepted wisdom wrong by demonstrating an astonishing ability to communicate and understand complex ideas. A New York Times bestseller and selected as one of the papers critics Top Ten Books of the Year, Alex & Me is much more that the story of an incredible scientific breakthrough. Its a poignant love story and an affectionate remembrance of Pepperbergs irascible, unforgettable, and always surprising best friend.
About the Author
Irene M. Pepperberg is an associate research professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and teaches animal cognition at Harvard University. She is head of the Alex Foundation and author of The Alex Studies: Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots.