The National Book Award? Really? What am I missing? I wanted to like it. It should be right up my alley. I love birds, neuroscience, ordinary people, and grappling with the big questions. This book, however, is just sophomoric, formulaic and dull. The characters are unlikable and uninteresting. The plot is hackneyed and contrived. I know I should write a more reasoned review but I'm too irritated about the time I wasted reading the darn thing to spend any more time on it.