Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
An Animal Life: The Beginning Paperback – November 6, 2012
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"The first-year class of vet school at the University of Philadelphia is a group as varied as the animals they will be treating. But one thing unites them: a passion for their work...Fast-paced and humorous, this detailed account of a first year at vet school brims with cringe-worthy moments and rich descriptions. The witty, believable characters fumble through their relationships much as they muddle their way through their studies. Those interested in animals as well as people will find much to admire in this work.
A zany and heartfelt account of life in veterinary school." -- Kirkus Reviews
"It's a great read ... I've got shelves of books by veterinarians, [but with An Animal Life] you're able to get the personality behind them, and you're able to get into the stories. It's not so much about the medicine ... It's about the people themselves and I love that aspect of it. I also love that [the authors are] donating back to charity with this." -- Pet World Insider
"When I was growing up, I wanted to be a vet. I always loved animals and I still do, although I never made it to veterinary school. Being able to jump into this book was the next best thing ... You get to run the full gamut of emotions ... and I have to wonder how any of them make it out alive ... Thanks to the wonderful descriptions you truly feel like you are one of the students ... I laughed more than anything with some of the situations and the characters of the book. It is so well written and delightful that I would recommend this one highly." -- Readers' Favorite (5-Stars)
"This is a very realistic and funny story ... Krum and Yanong really captured the light-hearted humor that they were going for. On one hand, the story is quite funny; on the other it's a really accurate portrayal of one of the best feelings in the world - when you close a book, and have a warm happy glow because the book brought you such joy. An Animal Life: The Beginning really is that book. It's a great read for vets and vets in training, as well as anyone who loves animals, people, and the crazy glue that holds us all together. " -- Readers' Favorite (5-Stars)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
The book is well edited, with few errors. It is substantive, and if the veterinary world that the authors have crafted for you is a place you want to spend a lot of time in, there is plenty here and more coming in the following books. As a medical mystery and a romance novel, it mostly succeeds, and there are a number of funny, well-written and quotable passages. The book also gives solid college advice, like study your teachers and the way they test and grade versus the material itself. While I’m normally not a fan of images in prose, the diagrams and lab notes provided are interesting and in some instances help paint a better picture of the characters.
An Animal Life is like a cross between a Brett Easton Ellis novel (there are a lot of pop-culture references to go along with the dissections) and a veterinary college primer. Oddly, this is not a bad combination. Where the book suffers is in relating information to the reader in a succinct and easily understandable way. If you’re like me and want to really understand the world of the book you’re reading, you’ll often stop to look up things you don’t know. While a veterinarian might laugh hysterically over an interaction between two of the characters, it will often be mired in so much clinical jargon that readers of even above-average intelligence will be left scratching their heads, looking to Google, or checking the glossary in the back of the book for answers. When the author does cater to the uninitiated reader, such as in an excellent description of formalin, you feel like you’re looking in on an interesting world. I wish there was more of that.
Unfortunately, the sheer volume of medical references will almost certainly take the reader out of the story if they haven’t studied (or are interested in) the zoological field. With that said, I would recommend to the authors that they shop this to veterinary colleges and get it made part of a curriculum somewhere. I could easily see this book being part of the reading requirements for a first-year vet student. For those knowledgeable on and interested in the science of animals, this is easily a hands-down 5-star book. For the average reader looking for a medical mystery/romance, they will find an at times confusing but overall well-written 4-star book here.
Second Review (Also 4 Stars)
An Animal Life: The Beginning by Howard Nelson Krum with Roy Pe Yanong and Scott Moore follows a group of students through their first semester at University of Philadelphia School of Veterinary Medicine in the 1980s. For readers interested in what vet school is like, this book offers a full experience of demanding class work, raucous parties, and sometimes painful personal growth.
The omniscient point of view is skillfully done. It gives the authors leeway to explain aspects of veterinary medicine in technical detail so readers can understand what the students are learning in class. But the analytical perspective on the action is less suited to expressing the characters' emotional lives and motivation. Too often we are told rather than shown who characters are and what they want.
In an intensive and useful glossary, the authors define An Animal Life as "A book series . . . [that] may be an upcoming blockbuster movie or TV series." They offer a "Suggested Soundtrack" of popular songs to accompany each chapter. Their music selections are knowledgeable and clever, and the objective omniscient point of view has a cinematic flavor, but the story isn't presented in a way likely to attract Hollywood.
The book makes demands on the reader. It takes some knowledge of biology to understand the chapters about vet school classes. (Those pre-med biology courses back in college came in handy here.) The illustrations by Patty Hogan help, but they're difficult to see in the Kindle book. The story, while interesting, isn't exactly a page-turner. The narrative plods through that first semester of vet school, developing the various subplots sporadically. Despite the potential for suspense, there isn't much.
On the other hand, a screenwriter might transform this promising raw material into the hoped-for blockbuster.
The story has several plotlines, but two stand out: a romance between two first-year students and a medical mystery.
Jack, a former cop, is attracted to Anna, who suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease. Although she has feelings for him their personalities aren't altogether compatible, and various missteps and misunderstandings keep them apart. Their story follows the conventional pattern of romance novels without the usual emotionalism. Both know Anna will die young, but the story is almost over before they become close enough to acknowledge it.
Because of the point of view, Jack and Anna occasionally seems like puppets, doing what the plot requires rather than acting from character-driven motivation. Jack's infatuation with pet-food PR slut Avery is one example. We're told that Jack resists sex with Avery because he's waiting for "the one," yet he’s sexually enthralled by Avery. That kind of paradox is certainly possible, but readers aren't shown enough of Jack's thoughts to understand why this intelligent, experienced man gives in to a juvenile infatuation.
The medical mystery begins when animals and birds in the area begin to die in startling numbers. A zoo vet and a pathology instructor work to discover why, but corporate interests at the zoo are less interested in the truth than in avoiding bad publicity. This conflict culminates in one of my favorite scenes as an Aussie thug employed by the zoo tries to intimidate the vets.
An Animal Life succeeds most completely on an intellectual level. I learned a lot about what veterinarians do and the challenges they face. The book raises the ethical dilemma of caring for animals while exploiting them for food, experimentation, and entertainment. An Animal Life offers no solution and has no ideological agenda – all the characters except Anna are unapologetic meat eaters – but it reminds us that humans and animals are part of the same ecosystem. Our treatment of animals has environmental consequences. On a personal level, the story depicts callousness and cruelty toward animals as character flaws, kindness toward them as a mark of goodness, and respect for them as essential in a veterinarian.
I noticed smatterings of punctuation errors concentrated in certain parts of the book, an uneven job of proofreading, but by and large an Animal Life is well written and worth the time of any reader who cares about animals and enjoys biology.
I felt I was in class again with the descriptions of people and where they sat. The gams of hypno-golf was hysterical!
All in all, a very good read, punctuated with great art. I loved the idea of hearing a suggested sound track with each chapter! Can't wait to see what happens with the blossoming romance...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Takes us all back to vet school!!!