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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and important
As gripping as it is important, LePan's brilliant first novel tackles the largest moral issue of our time while scarcely mentioning its victims at all. Instead, a century into the future, cognitively challenged humans called "mongrels" take the place of now-extinct factory farmed animals--grown in crowded sheds, mutilated, fattened in finishing pens then prodded into...
Published on August 1, 2010 by Jonathan Balcombe

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Counterpoint
I rarely review, but I see a lot of 4- and 5-star reviews and praise for a book I couldn't even finish, something else that's rare for me. (The last book I gave up on was Anne Rice's "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" sometime in 2003.)

My wife picked me up a copy of this novel because she knew I enjoyed dystopias as written by Burgess, Huxley, Orwell, and to a...
Published 13 months ago by Scott Shaffer


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and important, August 1, 2010
This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
As gripping as it is important, LePan's brilliant first novel tackles the largest moral issue of our time while scarcely mentioning its victims at all. Instead, a century into the future, cognitively challenged humans called "mongrels" take the place of now-extinct factory farmed animals--grown in crowded sheds, mutilated, fattened in finishing pens then prodded into chutes for slaughter. We meet one of these unfortunates, Sam, who is loved early in life but finds himself caught up in the future of meat ("yurn") production. By creating a subhuman category, LePan blurs the line we draw between ourselves and other sentient animals. Lest anyone fail to connect this story with our appalling current treatment of animals destined for our plates, the author includes an unambiguous afterword.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrible Beauty, July 22, 2010
This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
If you read any novel, read this! Animals is one of the most important Canadian novels to have emerged in many years. Utterly disturbing and gripping and incredibly well told, it poses difficult questions and highlights in unsettling ways our capacity for complicity in a whole range of practices that we would rather simply not know about. LePan's dystopian satire is poignant and dark and always absolutely bang on. It is set somewhere around the end of the twenty-first century. The livestock industry has collapsed as a result of increasingly barbaric practices so meat is no longer available. Worse, there has been a rapidly growing rate of children born with severe disabilities, so much so that these children have become classified as mongrels -- as creatures rather than humans. Things get worse when people realize that the answer is obvious: these mongrels could be consumed as meat. All that is needed is a name change. They come to be referred to as chattel, and their meat as yurn or fland. The story itself is extraordinarily well conceived -- it is so easy to go overboard with this kind of writing but LePan never does. Quite the opposite, a great part of its power lies in what LePan manages to avoid; the narrative is suggestive rather than graphic or confrontational. Somewhere Jonathan Swift is grinning wryly. But what can get lost in the brilliance of the satire is just how beautiful the writing is -- always at its most poetic at all the most awful moments. It was horrible and yet I couldn't stop reading as the plot moves inexorably forward. The final sections were about the saddest thing that I have read, but never in a way that seemed needless or opportunistic or excessive. This is a major addition to Canadian literature.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down, December 5, 2010
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This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
read the other reviews and decided to purchase the book. from the moment I picked it up, I could not put it down. Brilliant and disturbing, I feel compelled to give the book as gifts to a few special people. It's the kind of book that will stay with you and change the way you think about people and animals. Haunting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Counterpoint, May 24, 2013
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Scott Shaffer (Erdenheim, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
I rarely review, but I see a lot of 4- and 5-star reviews and praise for a book I couldn't even finish, something else that's rare for me. (The last book I gave up on was Anne Rice's "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" sometime in 2003.)

My wife picked me up a copy of this novel because she knew I enjoyed dystopias as written by Burgess, Huxley, Orwell, and to a degree Suzanne Collins. The difference between their stories and LePan's is that LePan breaks one of the first rules pounded into you in any creative writing class: Show, don't tell.

The plot reads like a case study, but then the plot is also interjected by an actual case study. Long stretches of exposition describe the rise in numbers and eventual dehumanization of the "mongrels." Though slow, I've read worse beginnings to stories, so I continued. The first sign that something was off, however, came from this:

"People used to say that it would be absurd to imagine a deaf person being mistaken for a mongrel. But I'd hazard it's no more surprising than a white person being mistaken for a black person if they have a dark complexion, or if they blacked up their skin."

What a ridiculous analogy! This was part of the case study between Parts 1 and 2, if I recall correctly. I was nearing the end of that lengthy section when I finally realized I just didn't care whatsoever about the rest of the story.

If you're looking for a fictionalized attack on the food industries in Western civilization, then this is probably a good book for you. I could see it being used in a classroom. But it's far from light/casual reading and definitely not for those who enjoy character-driven stories. I give it 2 stars for being grammatically correct (the parts I read, at least) and for being marketable to someone (probably a very specific niche), but obviously not me.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, teeth-clenchingly frightening., August 20, 2010
By 
R. Rastogi "mrjetsondc" (City of Brotherly Love) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
Aside from "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer, the preeminent treatise on why factorty farming is cruel, inhumane, and flat-out disgusting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 1 Point For My Dystopian Bookshelf, December 12, 2013
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This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
Great product! Thought I was buying a used book, but it's currently the shiniest/cleanest book I've ever owned! Which is saying something cause I rarely buy used books (which I'm trying to change).

As for the read? Decent. Interesting, thought provoking, though hard to read sometimes. I have some issues with the structure, but good perspective, either way. I would recommend it to everyone except my aunt (well, okay, and anyone who's particularly sensitive and squeamish) for the perspective alone. It's worth noting that the argument is against factory farming and animal cruelty, not against consuming animal products.
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1.0 out of 5 stars awful, September 6, 2013
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This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
I was required to read this novel for a philosophy class. I Hated every page of it. It's the vegan/vegetarian/animal rights manifesto, and the human rights nightmare. I'm sure I will catch flack for my review, but it is how I honestly feel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Animals: A Novel, September 25, 2012
This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
This odd little book explores the horrors of factory farming through the eyes of Sam, a deaf boy who is declared a mongrel and sent to a chattel processing facility to be processed as food. The horrors of how we process meat comes through through the sheer banality of this tale. This book is NOT for the faint of heart, and will change the way you think about food. It also raises questions about what makes us human. Thought-provoking and a must-read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, May 18, 2012
By 
Ellison Darling (OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
It's unfortunate that more people aren't aware of this disturbing novel. I picked it up on a whim from a bookstore that was closing. Once I began to read, I couldn't put the book down. Don Le Pan writes a story almost too horrible to imagine -- almost. I recommend Animals to everyone I know.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly a bull's-eye, September 17, 2010
This review is from: Animals: A Novel (Paperback)
Animals, Don LePlan's first novel, is a near bull's-eye critique of factory farming and the public's apparent willful ignorance of the scope and extent of the animals' near around-the-clock misery.

Set in some not-too-distant future, cows, pigs, chickens, and most other animals have gone extinct in a pandemic of our own making -- the result of super germs evolving in response to the widespread chronic use of antibiotics in feedlots and other animal agriculture confinement systems. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, at about the same time, the number of children born with mental deficits and other problems skyrockets.

The absence of animals and the increase in handicapped children lead to these children being redefined as subhuman animals. In LePlan's dark vision of the future, these "mongrels" take the place of pets and reminiscent of Soylent Green or Swift's modest proposal, come to be intensively farmed for meat.

The central character is a boy who is deaf; his language difficulties result in him being classified as a mongrel. The novel's main themes are developed through the other characters' relationships with him as he moves in and out of their lives.

Animals misses the bull's-eye though because, like some of the novel's characters, the author admits his own continued consumption of some animals. LePlan builds a compelling case that simply designating some animals human and others not doesn't mean that the things we do to those not human aren't barbaric or infinitely callous, yet like most of the characters in his novel, in some circumstances, he admits eating as if he doesn't know. This fact will allow some readers to dismiss their own inconsistencies toward animals and perhaps view the work as just another work of science fiction horror.

In spite of this unfortunate weakness, the story and the characters are likely to captivate some readers even if they have to skip through the more graphic scenes. Somewhere in the book, some readers might even give a moment's thought to the implications of their own dietary decisions.

Well worth reading.
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Animals: A Novel
Animals: A Novel by Don LePan (Paperback - June 1, 2010)
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