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Animalish (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Susan Orlean
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99

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Book Description

The life and times of a girl who has always loved animals, or how I went from dreaming about Rin Tin Tin to having dogs, cats, chickens, fish, cattle, turkeys, and guinea fowl, with guest appearances by horses, lions, and canaries.

Editorial Reviews Review

There are animal lovers and then there are animal lovers. Susan Orlean is the latter. A longtime New Yorker writer known for her fascination with American culture, she explores yet another of her cultural fascinations in Animalish: pets and their place in our world. Taking a personal approach, she addresses her own obsession with animals (and I don't mean just cats and dogs). In her unique approach--a mixture of literature and nonfiction--Orlean allows her voice to shine through, giving readers an intimate look into one of her great personal passions. Even non-animal lovers will be hard-pressed to not say "aww." --Shirley Hong

Product Details

  • File Size: 121 KB
  • Print Length: 17 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,461 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Being animalish: a love story May 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Even before the woof, meow, cluck, quack, moo and hee-haw grabbed her time and emotional core, Susan Orlean says she was always "animalish." By that she means that throughout her purposeful life animals and a personal relationship with animals has been her style.

In this Amazon Single she uses the literary short form to go on at length about her devotion and symbiosis with all things flying, crawling, hopping, swimming and prancing. You get to read about such things as her New York Moment with someone's pet rabbit named Rover. "Hop, Rover, hop!"

As a kid, Orlean shared her life with a Westie puppy and a butterscotch-colored mouse named Sparky. Off to college, Orlean set out to hook up with a boy whose main attribute would be that he owned a dog. Before that could be arranged she cashed in $300 in unused travelers' checks for an Irish-setter puppy she named Molly.

This essay is an exploration by Orlean on why she or people in general take a fancy to animals. Those animalish types, if they are self aware, understand all too well that they are probably a social minority and that their particular orientation may not be shared by the rest of the world.

Orlean says that for her personally her attraction to all kinds of animals is how she would feel if Martians landed on earth. "I would like to get to know them and befriend them, all the while knowing we are not quite of the same ilk."

She, on the other hand, is of the ilk that when a boyfriend named John surprised her on Valentine's Day by having someone named Rick drop by her Manhattan apartment with his pet lion in tow, she fed the beast a bowl of two raw chickens and then proceeded to stoke its back. Presumably the feline purred in gratitude.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pet Subject May 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
"Animalish" is the author's progression from animal deprivation to animal indulgence. Susan Orlean always had a special affinity for pets, and she had known it early in her life. But her intense love for animals remained mostly unrequited in her childhood save for an experience with a non-resident cat, which seemed "less like a pet than a representative of some off-site cat charity who was dropping by to pick up our contributions."

Like many girls of her age, Susan also wanted a dog in her childhood, but her mummy was terrified about them and would create a scene when the animal was brought near her. "Consequently we remained dogless, and I suffered."

Now life seems to have come a full circle. Presently she lives with a menagerie of animals, comprising of one dog, three cats, eight chickens, four turkeys, six guinea fowl, one fish and two snow-white ducks. Still more animals are on their way to join her on their 55-acre property close to Taconic Mountains. A real change of fortunes about animals indeed.

The author tries to make sense of her special affinity for animals. Is it because there "have been more creatures in my orbit compared to other people?" She ultimately finds the answer in serendipity: her proclivity to find "higher-than-average tendency to find animals in my path." She beautifully recounts the story of her stumbling into a rabbit owner walking his pet on a "silver leash" on a Manhattan sidewalk, the bubbly pet protesting with regular resistance to hop on.

She has written extensively on the subject of animals, but has decided to publish her essay in Kindle Singles because she did not feel her article was suitable for The New Yorker, where she is a staff writer.

Susan has now chosen an appropriate platform to tell her tale, as the chance of her finding serendipitous readers is much more here.

Chinmay Hota
Author of 'Hits and Misses'
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I prefer it when Orlean turns her pen on others July 10, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Susan Orlean's essay on her history with animals is the first Kindle Single I've read. Kindle Singles are short (between 5000 and 30,000 words), reasonably priced pieces that Amazon describes as "compelling ideas expressed at their natural length." Orlean's essay is okay, but I've enjoyed other pieces by her more: I prefer it when she turns her pen on others. She has a wonderful way of entering alien worlds--a grocery store in Jackson Heights, New York, for example, or a trailer park in Portland--and describing them as an outsider. But while Orlean's entry was just middling, after this experience I am quite taken with the Singles format. It's somehow absurdly satisfying to polish off a self-contained piece of prose (that is, not one entry in a collection of essays or short stories) in one sitting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love this Author June 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very brief essay by one of my favorite non-fiction writers.

If you are a fan, you know you will enjoy. If you are new to Orleans, this is a quick and cheap introduction to her style.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreams Come True March 13, 2012
By CLox
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This non-fiction short story describes Susan Orlean's love affair with animals, from childhood to adulthood. It was a pleasant read. The author's love of animals comes through strongly, from household pets to barnyard critters.

Was I entertained? Definitely. Almost makes me want to have my own menagerie.
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By Thelma
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Susan,the love you have for animals have a recompense they are creatures of God.He gives you plenty land for your animals,you said in this book,a canary showed up in your apartment,and you still don't know or why.animals they know how to survive and where they can feel safe ,you have a beautiful soul and they know.please write another book about the animals,this book was to short but enjoyment.I love everything about animals and the way they came to your life you are very lucky to have them .Thelma
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book about life with animals
Susan Orleans is a favorite of mine, she has a witty way with words which makes her stories easy to read. This story is good but, I gave it 4 stars because of it's length. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Susan Billings
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun Pets
Greatly enjoyed a story with heart great for animal lovers.
Published 6 months ago by DJK
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Short and sweet.
Published 8 months ago by Budget Betty
3.0 out of 5 stars Friends with Fur
I wanted to know more details of her life, Orlean just skipped past important events. The last portion about all the animals converging for a free for all was so funny. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Helen J. Fraser
4.0 out of 5 stars Animalish
This was a quick, enjoyable read! It made me think of a lot of animal related laughs my family has enjoyed over the years. Read more
Published on February 27, 2013 by Laurie Adair Grove
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
Nothing to write home about. It's fine. I read it a while ago, I don't have any strong memories of it good or bad, but I do recall feeling like, 'is that it? Read more
Published on December 11, 2012 by Marisha Childs
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning from animals
I was drawn to Susan Orlean because we have the same breed of dog. So glad I made the effort. This is a wonderful story and I hope it turns into a book. Read more
Published on December 8, 2012 by Betsie R. Czeschin
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute Read. If You Want More...
This short story reminds me of a conversation you might have with an interesting person on an airplane or at a party. Read more
Published on July 21, 2012 by JAScribbles
5.0 out of 5 stars a short story describing much of MY life (grin)
OK....I have a bias.....I'm so 'animalish' that it's wierd. Luckily, I work in the field of biology so it's something that's accepted in my workplace, although I'm NOT allowed to... Read more
Published on May 23, 2012 by bothellbuyer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant, Quick Read.
I enjoyed this short! Every once in a while, we need something that we can read, smile warmly, and just feel better about things for a while. This was that kind of book. Read more
Published on December 25, 2011 by Mark Abrams
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More About the Author

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in upstate New York and may be reached at and

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