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Just Life: A Novel Hardcover – May 10, 2016
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"Propelled by a strong moral imperative, Abramson's taut and suspenseful novel demonstrates what happens when the lines of scientific ethics and citizen welfare are blurred in the name of political expediency."―Carol Haggas, Booklist
"Rarely has a novel captured so movingly the deep bonds between people and the animals that share their lives"―Parade on Unsaid
"Unsaid is an extraordinary story of animals, afterlife, and the power of love. I found myself captivated by the world of this book. It will make you remember, rethink, and rejoice in every meaningful relationship you've ever had. Everyone needs to read this book!"―Garth Stein, author of the international bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain on Unsaid
"UNSAID will really make you think about the relationship between people and animals. I was not able to put it down, and I read parts of it twice."―Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human on Unsaid
"Abramson delivers a touching and dramatic story that is sure to please animal lovers.... [A] solid story of loss and love."―Library Journal on Unsaid
"Just Life is a new treasure that I'm adding to my list of favorite books about dogs and people. Rather than just writing about the human-animal bond, Abramson seems to write from inside it...Just Life is ethically rich, with several different interwoven themes running throughout the story...Just Life is not just for animal lovers, though, but for anyone who enjoys a good story with interesting characters and a captivating plot."―Jessica Pierce, Ph.D., Psychology Today
"If you love dogs and well-written, suspenseful fiction that is uplifting and will inspire you to open an animal sanctuary, read this lovely novel."―Jeffrey Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie About Love, The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving, and Dogs Make Us Human
About the Author
NEIL ABRAMSON is the author of Unsaid. A partner in a Manhattan law firm, Abramson is a past board member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an award recipient from the ASPCA for his legal work on behalf of animals, and a founding member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Relating to Animals. He and his wife, a veterinarian, share their home with a wide variety of animals.
Top customer reviews
I have been anticipating the publication of this book and have had it on preorder for a while now. I read Abramson’s first book, Unsaid and I liked it. I read all the vine reviews (those lucky folks who get books before everyone else) and was disappointed and underwhelmed. But I was also particularly bothered that so many of those reviews were just a rehashing of the plot line. Not helpful. And some reviews spoke about parts of the book that are difficult to stomach if you are an animal lover. I was worried about, but as it turns out those difficult parts were fine for me. And for the record, I’ve never read a really good book that is devoid of tension or pain in some way. Just like real life.
I am not going to rehash the plot line here.... you have countless vine reviews as well as the book’s own synoptic description that give you all you need to know to decide whether you want to read it. I hope you do choose to. It’s a very good book though I see that there are some reviewers that disagree. I’m not sure why.
I consider myself an “animal person.” I love animals, share my home with a few, volunteer a fair amount of time at animal shelters and specialize in animal photography. I am one of those folks who can’t bear reading about or seeing animal cruelty. I cry like a baby at movies in which animals die or are harmed. After reading some of the initial reviews I was concerned about what I might encounter in this book but it turns out my concerns were unfounded. Yes there were a couple of dicey paragraphs but seriously, they are almost parenthetical to the plot and none of the dicey parts have glued themselves into my psyche. Typically awful images sere in my brain for years. Not so with these. If you are on the fence about reading this book I would say get off the fence and try it. It really is a good read.
I have given this five stars because to my mind it’s a good book and I really enjoyed the characters. They were interesting and at times, fascinating to me. A couple of reviewers felt that they were way too angry or too odd or not believable. I didn’t find them too angry. That makes no sense to me whatsoever. They are challenged in many ways but not angry in the way I usually think of anger. Odd? Yes, I suppose so. I do photography for many animal shelters, so I am frequently around shelter staff and volunteers and animal folks in general. So so so many of the people I come in contact with are out of the box types. Interesting, passionate, quirky, fragile, loving, devoted and yes, often in some sort of emotional pain and often with an angry edge. Abramson seems to innately understand this and has created characters that to me WERE believable. Believable, engaging and endearing. Some I liked more than others but overall they seemed to be a fitting cast of characters to carry this storyline. The bad guys in this book were pretty one dimensional and while that is one of my quibbles with the book, I often find that “bad guys” ARE one dimensional. Think about it. If your neighborhood jerk was more two or three dimensional s/he might actually be able to see their behavior and correct it. I know a lot of bullies who are so predictable in their one dimensionality.
The book progresses with plot and character development which I enjoyed. I like passionate and quirky people. Like any good book it all built to the last third or so of the book which is a taut read. Suspenseful and agonizing (in a good way) as the plot lines come together. In many ways this was super exciting and had me on the proverbial edge of my seat. I read it well into the night but saved the last 40 or so pages for the next day because I didn’t want to be too tired to absorb what was going on. And there was a lot going on. The ending, while satisfying because it tied up many loose ends, was perhaps a bit to tidy. Too tidy, yet I liked how it all came together and I hadn’t been able to guess the ending at all while I was reading.
When all is said and done, I liked the characters. I felt at home with them and comfortable. I wished there was a samantha who ran a no kill shelter near my home.... I would be heading over there right now to hang out with her motley crew of misfits and take pictures of all the dogs in her care.
BOTTOM LINE: A good book with a believable bunch of misfit characters. This book is not without its flaws but in the end I enjoyed spending time with it and so while vacillating between four and five stars I ultimately decided to go with five because I’d really like to see this book succeed.
I love reading books about animals and this was a good one.
*Per my Goodreads review
Most recent customer reviews
I havent found a book like this in a long time.
Enjoyed the rollercoaster ride very much.
Neil is.Read more