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The Blessings of the Animals: A Novel Paperback – Aug 3 2010
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“Wonderfully poignant characters and a deeply satisfying exploration of love in its many incarnations, some of them a bit furrier than others, make this novel Katrina Kittle’s most insightful yet. Don’t miss it!” (Lesley Kagen, New York Times bestselling author of Tomorrow River)
From the Back Cover
From Katrina Kittle, critically acclaimed author of The Kindness of Strangers, comes a wry and moving story of forgiveness, flexibility, happiness, and the art of moving on.
Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law—still her best friend—is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men—including her ex-husband—are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life.
But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries—and its disconnects.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Here's some examples from just the first 150 pages which I read... the main character supposedly suffered from anorexia nervosa, but was instantly cured by the sight of a cute boy. As someone who had a family member with this terrible disorder, I was outraged that the author wrote about something so deadly without the necessary research and understanding of it (and shame on the editor who allowed this to be printed).
The next absurdity due to lack of research by the author occurred shortly after that. The main character is a veterinarian, yet when a horse develops two abscesses, in two different feet, she neither lances/drains them nor starts the horse on antibiotics...for three days (which is as far as I got in the storyline). This would be malpractice, gross incompetence and animal neglect if this really happened. Again, the author could have visited a few internet sites about abcesses in horses and gotten enough knowledge to write a believable storyline, but she didn't.
The third ridiculous "event" happens when the two veterinarians are sent to investigate an animal abuse/hoarding situation. A cat climbs up the one veterinarians clothes. This so scares both veterinarians that they run to a neighbors house in fear, and, once there, they sit and have coffee rather than resume their cruelty investigation. Are you kidding me??? Anyone involved with animals, whether veterinarian or abuse investigator, would not be scared of a cat climbing on them...nor would they sit and have coffee and do nothing about the abuse happening next door. The whole scene was absurd.
That was when I gave up. The characters simply were not believable, the dialog cliched, the "medicine" being talked about was incompetent, the animals were being left in painful and abusive situations and yet you're not suppose to notice or care. I could not get past this to continue the book.
It is a well known idea that animals have the power to heal and the bond between human and animal can be a very special and unbreakable one. The Blessings of the Animals takes that idea and creates a highly memorable and engrossing story that will ring within the reader's minds long after the book has been finished. Katrina Kittle's talent for creating realistic, heart-rendering and amazingly descriptive story prose draws the reader in and holds them tight until the very end. One such instance occurs in the beginning, on page 15:
"Helen filmed and I narrated in a voice that sounded tight and swollen no matter how many times I cleared my throat. "The mare ate the wood. She was eating her own stall in an attempt to survive. Look." With gloved hands, I pulled back the mare's upper lip and opened her jaw. "Her tongue and gums are full of splinters, and her mouth is full of manure."
The shouting, hammering, and barking continued as we filmed empty feed bins, an empty hayloft, empty water buckets.
I euthanized a black gelding and shipped off four other raggedy survivors with the last of the volunteers. Helen got on her cell, trying to round up more foster homes.
When I opened the last stall in this barn, two fillies stared at me from the dark, sweet eyes in deep hollows. Their hip bones pushed up so starkly that sores oozed where bone threatened to push through the skin, but their hearts and lungs sounded strong."
Just the wording created a visual that pulled at my heart and made me ache for these poor horses that had long been neglected.
Cami Anderson is a veterinarian whose talent and love for animals runs incredibly deep. Cami has long since had a visceral need for "highs" and the powerful rush of adrenalin, be it from adventurous undertakings, such as close encounters with tornados, starving herself or the rush she feels next to a powerful animal. This desire is what first brings her and her future husband, Bobby, together. However, after eighteen years of marriage and a wonderful seventeen-year-old daughter, Bobby's depression and restlessness leads him to suddenly leave his marriage and family behind. Caught in a tailspin, Cami must put the pieces of her life and the life of her daughter back together. While trying to come to peace with her life, Cami finds herself on a journey of life and relationship reflection.
I found myself very intrigued and connected to Cami. Not for any particular reason, but simply for the fact that she was so real, so human and so easy to connect with. The other characters of Cami's brother, Davy and his partner, David were also incredibly enjoyable. The Blessings of the Animals is a celebration of finding happiness in ones life and reiterating the powerful bonds and importance of animals. More often than not, it is an animal that can be the most faithful and dependable presence in ones life and The Blessings of the Animals is the perfect example of this.
Whether you are an animal lover or someone looking for an amazing story that will settle deeply into your heart and soul, The Blessings of the Animals is the perfect book to sink into. Katrina Kittle is an amazing voice in today's world of literature and has the staying power to bring years of reading pleasure to an enormous audience. I can't wait to read more works by Ms. Kittle and look forward to watching her amazing success climb.
Not only is this story about Cami's journey through divorce and how she is saved by her animals and friends, but it is a comment on marriage and love in general. It comments on those, like Cami, who learn that marriage is hard work and can be worth that work. It's also about those that want to be married just for the sake of marriage. This is not only on the part of the woman, but the man as well. There is even a bit about arranged marriage. Plus, there is also a big commentary on gay marriage and adoption. All of this seems like a lot to put in a book, but the way it was done it fits well because it follows Cami's discoveries of those issues.
My only complaint is about her boyfriends. They are wonderful characters until she dates them. Then, they start to become one-dimensional caricatures of themselves. For example, I didn't believe that Vijay, her childhood best friend, was such an insightful person and true friend only to become a totally blind and selfish boyfriend so quickly and throughly. Vijay was my biggest disappointment.
I give this book 4 stars and I do recommend this book. I'm also glad that this book is based on animals that she knew in real life.