Summary: Upon marring Mark, Amy knew that she would have an instant step-family. What she was unaware of were the critters they would adopt into their household. With each pet though there was something new to learn and a variety of characters who each have a story to tell. From Coco, the mean ferret, to Dusty the angel pup, who was like a miniature guard dog. There is a variety of exotic and not so exotic pets that have come into their home.
Characters: I have been wanting to read non-fiction for the reasons this book gave me. The people in the book are brought to life well, and you can tell they are real complex beings, including the animals. Through the animals you see how Amy grows as a person too, and how even the loss of her dad is woven into the process of grief she has been around since losing the animals.In a lot of ways it made me reflect on the pets I've lost and how in a way it is preparing me for worse grief to come. People can try to pretend that the loss of animals might not affect them, but it is incredibly tragic when an animal you cared for died. I haven't remember how any of the pets I liked died or what it felt like when they did.
Writing: I thought that the author's writing style brought out the emotions and the comedy of the situations of the animals well. Since this is her real experience as you read what she wrote you can imagine her thinking that as these scenarios played out. Plus, the way she views her husband is sweet especially as he encourages a new animal into their family each time. It shows not only how the animals affected her, but also her husband, her step-children, and any visitors they had. I even loved how she included the correspondence with the person who adopted the duck they had took in for a short time.
Plot: This whole book really does play out as a story. With each pet you grow more attached to what is happening, plus by the end as some animals passed away over time I felt the impact of that hitting me more and more. I had grown attached to certain animals just by how they interacted with the people and the other animals that would come into the household. Plus, I could relate to some of the experience like seeing your dog attacked by another dog, which is really horrific to witness, or the struggles of watching a pet get older. I think if anything people reading this will realize how certain beings play a part in our lives over time, and just how attached to them we become.
I am not a huge animal person. I have one pet, and she may be the only pet I have ever again. The great thing about this book is regardless of whether you are an animal lover and you're someone who doesn't even own a pet there is something so human about this book that it just sits with you after you've read. For the first time in a long time I was sad that a book was over, and I even went to Amy L. Peterson's site to try to catch up on the animals and what's been happening with them. It's definitely worth the read, and one of the best books I've read that's been released in 2013. The following video is one of the animals that appears in the book, Bumpkin the Duck.
Rating 8 of 10.