Charlotte Ashlock

A Peacock in a Land of Penguins, by BJ Gallagher

January 20, 2015 Book Reviews 0

a-peacock-in-the-land-of-penguins-lAs many of you know, I work for a company called Berrett-Koehler Publishers.  My employer’s favorite book is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary Edition today.  I feel proud and happy; I contributed ideas and feedback for the “bonus chapter” which was added to the new edition.

The author, BJ Gallagher, is an AMAZING lady, chock full of opinions and warmth and love. She rescues sick puppies and kittens and is always posting pictures on Facebook of her aging mother she cares for. She gives everyone in my workplace amazing Christmas presents every year- this year it was chocolate penguins and brightly colored feather pens that say, “Show your true colors.”

The book reads almost like a children’s book, it’s so easy and fun, but it profoundly changed how I felt and thought about things forever. 

Why did I find the book so life-changing? Well, people who are nonconformists tend to get picked on a lot. And if you’re picked on, if you feel different and excluded, there’s this very comforting tale you tell yourself for consolation. “I’m picked on and misunderstood because I’m just too smart and creative and special for ordinary people to understand. These damn Muggles just don’t know what it’s like to be magical like me.” This was the story I used to survive my childhood and adolescence. But it’s a profoundly immature story. Because the truth is, nobody’s better, just different. This book validated my frustration with the “penguins,” (or “suits”) but it also taught me some lessons about understanding & appreciating them as people.

Charlotte-FeathersAccepting people who are different from you is hard. One day I was ranting to my fiance about what an awesome & accepting parent I would be, how I would encourage my children in all their dreams.   My fiance said, “Charlotte, you don’t know what will happen. Maybe our children will hate books and love sports. Will you accept them then?” That really gave me pause. I don’t know how I would react to having kids who hated books! But I hope someday I’ll be the kind of person who can love every kind of “bird” or human.

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