Hatched

How Nine Little Chicks Cracked My Shell

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
145 Pages
Reviewed on 03/03/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Hatched: How Nine Little Chicks Cracked My Shell by Sharon Wallen is an inspirational memoir and self-help guide in which the author walks a reader through the moments in her marriage and in her life that drained her cup and left her feeling empty, and the moment in which that same cup slowly began to refill with positivity. The metaphor Wallen employs isn't actually a cup, but a very real project where she nurtured chickens, chicks, and eggs. Over the course of twelve distinct and interconnected parts, Wallen provides a profoundly honest emotional evolution and the sweet, fascinating care of her feathered friends that restored light in her soul and a renewed focus on the trajectory of a life she was committed to living well from here on out. “Here is an absolute truth: We are born to be creators, to rule the roost of our reality, to shine brightly.”

It takes a great deal of courage for someone to put the most difficult hurdles of their life out into the universe, but Sharon Wallen does exactly that in Hatched: How Nine Little Chicks Cracked My Shell. The book begins with an admission that is particularly brave given the potential for genuine blowback, then the feeling of her deserving the crushing let-downs that came her way. Of course, she was not deserving, and neither are any of us as we navigate our own paths, but it was enlightening to see it on paper. And then, the chickens come into her life. Oh...the chickens! Life lessons learned by fluffy little chicks, such as noticing the details and being wholly present in the moment with the focus of a chicken, the importance of conscious living found at the dinner table, and how the strut of a rooster teaches an observer how to live large. This is such a wonderful, heartfelt book that I am certain will resonate with all who take the proactive and positive step toward reading it.

Foluso Falaye

Sharon Wallen's decision to buy chicken eggs, which was encouraged by her child, led to a series of discoveries that impacted her phenomenally. Hatched reveals what Sharon learned during the time she embarked on raising chickens, which started with buying eggs and watching them hatch to produce nine fluffy chicks. We, as humans, like to see ourselves as intelligent beings compared to other animals but forget to enjoy the simple things in life or live in the moment. Sharon's perspective about contentment shifted when she watched her chicks chase worms and saw how content they seemed in their own little world. Her book contains valuable lessons about different profound topics, like living large, the value of the struggle, the power of saying yes, and much more.

Hatched is an example of the beautiful discoveries and outcomes that could emerge when we stop to see and reflect on the world around us. Sharon Wallen has a keen eye for picking up deeply profound insights from the most basic things—things that are quite easy to overlook, like the hatching of the chicks and their acceptance of the natural order of life. The book combines some relatable themes, including divorce and loss of love, addiction, parenthood, and the danger of accepting mundaneness in adulthood. With tasteful humor and simple, vibrant language, Hatched shares its brilliant and deep messages quite effectively. I couldn't get enough of the cuteness and the allure of the chicks as I imagined the vividly described events in the book. From the youngest to the oldest, every discerning mind has something to learn from seeing the world through the eyes of a contented, lively chick as taught in Hatched.

Astrid Iustulin

Who would imagine that chickens are capable of teaching us how to live a better life? Sharon Wallen did, and now the lessons she has learned are collected in Hatched: How Nine Little Chicks Cracked My Shell. Wallen's story with her chickens began by chance when she said yes to a request from her son (which is, by the way, the first lesson of the book). From that moment, the author began a new life with her chickens and discovered, among other things, the value of the struggle, the importance of attitude, and why love is a nutrient. Between happy and sad moments, Hatched will open readers' eyes to chickens - and life too.

Being a chicken owner myself, I have never doubted that these animals are delightful and often misunderstood. However, the depth of Sharon Wallen's lessons surprised me. Hatched is a book that will help those who aspire to improve themselves, and the advice they find here will be useful in both professional and private life. In particular, Wallen's reflections after the death of the rooster made me think of things that I would never have imagined. Both this and the other lessons have helped me see things from a new point of view. It is about time someone gave chickens the recognition they deserve, and I am glad Wallen is the writer who did it because she is wise and sensitive. I hope Hatched will be an inspiration to all those looking for their way or who, after having found it, do not want to lose it.

Philip Van Heusen

It is amazing what one can learn when one takes the time to observe nature and the behavior of animals. Sharon Wallen shares the many and varied lessons she learned by observing chickens. One of the first lessons Sharon learned as she watched the chicks struggle to break free from their shells was the value of “struggle.” As the chicks grew, so did the lessons. Who knew that baby chickens could teach such valuable lessons on living? Baby chickens can even teach contentment. Sharon finally killed and ate one of her roosters. The lessons learned from this natural act changed the way she ate and the type of foods she ate. As we each travel the road of life, we need to understand the struggles of our fellow travelers and not try to save them from their struggles. Instead, we need to support those who struggle. Buddy, the bantam rooster, taught that we are responsible for our growth and happiness, not someone else’s. Read this book and savor all the other lessons that Sharon learned from her little flock of chickens.

I used to be destination-oriented. I did what I could to make it to the destination as quickly as possible. My wife taught me to enjoy the journey. In Hatched, Sharon Wallen shares how her chickens taught her to enjoy the journey. It is beyond amazing how simple little chickens with just a pea-sized brain can teach intellectual humans so much about living. Sharon shares these lessons in her book. Reading this book will give one a new appreciation for the wisdom of animals and nature. The reader will marvel at the simple life lessons learned by observing the life cycle of chickens. Paying attention to the lessons taught in this book will change the reader’s life forever. It is refreshing to see how one can learn from an animal. Never ask a chicken where their degree is from. Instead, just enjoy learning from simplicity.

Lois J Wickstrom

There’s an old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” In Sharon Wallen’s case, it’s nine chickens and later a rooster. Watching the chickens hatch, reading about how “helping them” would actually kill them was her first lesson. Everything Sharon learned about chickens, she applied to her own life – child-rearing, her marriage, her job, even her volunteer work, and adopting a dog. The chickens that she hatched from eggs kept warm in an incubator changed how she saw her life. She was present for their births and one death. Her daily work of not only feeding and housing the chickens, but watching them eat, play, and mature, gave her a new viewpoint on life which she poetically portrays in her book, Hatched. She credits these chickens with improving both her mental and physical health. When the city made her give them up, she moved to a farm of her own, where she could have more. Artistic chicks grace the pages. Even the typeface on each chapter is laid out to look like chicken footprints.

When I was a member of the Berkeley Food Conspiracies, our “conspiracies” - so-called because co-op is a legal term in California – had names that indicated the goals of each group. One group was called “Pre-Country.” Sharon Wallen starts out this book as pre-country and ends as full-country, as did some of the “conspiracy” members. In Hatched, she records her steps along the way from city dweller to small-family-farmer. From a woman who drinks to calm herself to a woman who watches animals to calm herself. Her growth is a pleasure to watch from peeping into an egg about to hatch to slitting the throat of a rooster she is going to eat. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about what it might be like to raise chickens or to see life in a new way. Sharon Wallen’s writing has a soothing quality even when she is talking about endings. Her ultimate joy and the true pleasure of this book comes from her depiction of trusting life.

Lise Anne Ellsworth

They say there are no coincidences, and I have to say that when I luckily happened upon “Hatched,” I felt as though the universe had heard my cry and was cradling me in her gentle arms and offering a safe place to crack open my shell and blossom. To quote the author herself, “this remembering comes by way of miracles that gently nudge us awake, and then help us grow “in” to who we really are.” This small, but powerful book, was one such miracle. In her personal, humorous, and articulate writing, Sharon Wallen carries the reader through her tender and self-effacing journey from “no,” to “yes.” Each chapter unveils sweet moments of wisdom found through her real-life experience raising chickens from the egg. Ideal for book club, friends, family, or as a “thank you” gift, this book has something for everyone and is one you’ll read again and again. This precious book gave me what the author explains as, “that experience of turning off our minds and placing all of our trust in our hearts, creating a giddy sensation of freedom and bliss.” What a wonderful gift!