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Just Life: A Novel
     

Just Life: A Novel

4.8 8
by Neil Abramson
 

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From Neil Abramson, the acclaimed author of Unsaid, comes a riveting novel that explores the complex connection between humans and animals.

Veterinarian Samantha Lewis and her team are dedicated to providing a sanctuary for unwanted, abused, and abandoned dogs in New York City. But every day it gets harder to operate her no-kill shelter. Sam is already at

Overview

From Neil Abramson, the acclaimed author of Unsaid, comes a riveting novel that explores the complex connection between humans and animals.

Veterinarian Samantha Lewis and her team are dedicated to providing a sanctuary for unwanted, abused, and abandoned dogs in New York City. But every day it gets harder to operate her no-kill shelter. Sam is already at her breaking point when she learns of an unidentified, dangerous virus spreading through their neighborhood. The medical community can only determine that animals are the carriers. Amid growing panic and a demand for immediate answers, suspicion abruptly falls on dogs as the source. Soon the governor is calling in the National Guard to enforce a quarantine—no dog may leave the area.

Samantha knows from her own painful history that, despite the lack of real evidence against the dogs, a quarantine may only be the beginning. As questions about the source of the virus mount and clash with the pressure for a politically expedient resolution, Sam is forced to make life-altering choices. She finds allies in a motley crew of New Yorkers—a local priest, a troubled teen, a smart-mouthed former psychologist, and a cop desperate to do the right thing—all looking for sanctuary from their own personal demons. But the person Sam needs the most to unravel the mystery of the virus and save the dogs is the last one she'd ever want to call on—because contacting him will mean confronting the traumatic past she has fought so hard to escape.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455591046
Publisher:
Center Street
Publication date:
05/10/2016
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
113,392
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet 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.

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Just Life 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Here?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book made my heart soar.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Could you imagine simply turning in your dog because of a viral outbreak? What if you had no choice? What if you were mandated to do so under the fear that you might never see your dog again if they believe that destruction is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus to keep from killing children? How far would you go? These are the choices that residents of Riverside, a small neighborhood in New York have been asked to do as part of a quarantine to prevent the spread of what the CDC has determined might be a killer rabies virus. First they thought the recent deaths of the children of Riverside was caused by the bird flu, but tests are coming back confirming that it is rabies and with the presidential election coming, the Governor wants to ensure that his rally goes off in Central Park without any issues. Samantha Lewis, owner of Finally Home, a non kill pet shelter and veterinarian has her work cut out for her. Not only does she have to find homes for the pets currently in her shelter due to a mandate from the city that they are closing her shelter but they have placed a quarantine on the cities dogs within Riverside. She can't bear the thought of how the CDC will handle the situation if they deem the dogs are the carrier. Despite all the tests and blood work she is doing on the dogs being brought into her from the residents, she knows once people go into panic mode, the dogs will be slated to be killed in order to contain the virus. But based on all her knowledge is seems suspicious that rabies would find a way to cross over to humans without being bitten. She will have to reach out to the one person who can help her and the one person she doesn't want to call. Her father. I received Just Life by Neil Abramson compliments of Center Street Publishers, a division of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation, aside from a free copy of this novel, in exchange for my honest and personal opinions. This is such a great novel despite the profanity and makes you consider just how we handle these viral outbreaks with the slaughter of animals that are called into question. This really impacted me personally as a pet lover, and wondered just what I would do if called to give up my dog knowing they might be killed in an effort to contain the viral outbreak. Humans or animals? That is the choice up for debate in this political thriller! For me this rated 4 out of 5 stars only due to the profanity and my own personal rating system I have established. Without it, 5 out of 5 stars.
Rachmaninoff_fan 5 months ago
Couldn't put this book down! Excitement from beginning to end! Loved it!!!
JBronder 11 months ago
A virus has been discovered that is killing children in Riverside. They determine that is some advanced rabies virus that is transferred from dogs to humans. Samantha Lewis is a veterinarian and owner of Finally Home, a no kill shelter. Sam thinks there is something suspicious about this since rabies transfers through a bite. But she has other things on her plate when her little shelter is at capacity and she is being threatened with closure. If she is going to save the dogs, Sam is going to do everything she can to find out what is really happening. This is an incredible, heartwarming story. It is easy to get caught up in the details. What would you do if children were dying and some researcher says that it’s a virus from dogs? Would you give up your dog knowing that they will probably be put to sleep and maybe tested on before and after? That in itself was hard for me. I am a huge animal lover and I would fight tooth and nail to keep my cats safe. My heart was breaking reading about the different people affected. But they all had their part to play, even Dr. Morgan, bad as she is she had a role to play and you can’t blame her. She just does the part way to well. Although I’m an animal lover I will admit that I could see her part and place in this whole thing. Granted that doesn’t make me like her or accept what is happening. This is my first book from Neil Abramson and I was wonderstruck with Just Life. I will definitely be reading Unsaid and watching for other books by him. I received Just Life from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
redmagc More than 1 year ago
I was very excited when I discovered that this author was going to publish another book. I was very much looking forward to its publication as I had very much enjoyed Mr. Abramson’s first novel. However, I have to admit, I was concerned that the author might "cheap out" and copy the original themes/storylines from his first novel, as so many other successful, first time authors are apt to do. I mean…really…. lets start with the fact there was a lady vet as the heroine in both novels. Although the author did reflect on many of the same themes in both books, the story lines were very unique in each of the novels I find that the second novel carried itself very nicely indeed. And, in fact, on initial reflection I enjoyed Abramson's second book even better than the first. What I find compelling, is that both of Mr. Abramson's novels poignantly reflect, in both simple and complex terms, upon the qualities that are required for "humans" to possess in order qualify as being "good humans". More so than in his first, in his second novel, his and his characters reflections on essential "good" "human” qualities give me greater pause. And, whether those qualities are portrayed in simple or complex terms they are attributes that Mr. Abramson exhorts us to, especially touchingly, in his second novel to “pause’ upon, more regularly and with greater focus. What I especially enjoyed about this novel, is that the author built upon his first novel, and kept forcing the reader to reflect on what qualities one must posses in order to be a “good human”. I find that this second novel focuses more on how what we do as humans deeply impacts other humans. And if we truly care, comfort and nurture our own species, it will not be difficult, in fact it will come as second nature to care, comfort and nurture those “lesser species.” Perhaps, I am choosing not to focus on the “canine’ or non-“human” inter-relationship elements in this novel. But, I didn’t find the Author’s observations concerning the heroine being the “ alpha of the pack’ and the “howling at the moon” as nearly as moving or as compelling as his observations about human nature and how important it is to be humane to another human …and then proper treatment of other species will come second nature. The Author’s observations on some of these essential traits that we as humans often share with animals, are those that gave me pause and are as follows and are meant as teasers and they do no justice to this novel as a whole. LOYALTY “They certainly seem loyal to you.” “If you believe in the same things, loyalty comes easy.” HUMOR “What are you doing here, Mr…?” “Walden. Tom Walden. I would offer you my hand, but I’m assuming you wouldn’t take it.” “You would be correct, sir.: “Your dog seemed to be OK with me.” “My dog drinks from a toilet. We have different standards.” SHAME “The faces showed that these dogs had learned the truth about humanity. Ears back, in submission, eyes downcast.” To finish, I just want to say that I believe that the author’s skill at character development has increased exponentially. As I read this novel, I identified most characters, with people I have encountered. The characters are real to me and I think you will find them as real to you as well
Liza W. Margulies More than 1 year ago
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 but felt a bit shaken up by it. To be honest I was a bit afraid to read this one because when I heard the premise I was worried about it being too disturbing. 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. Precisely what I was worried about, but as it turns out those difficult parts were fine for me..... 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 good book. Not the best book I’ve ever read but certainly a very good one worth reading though I see that there are some reviewers that disagree. I’m not sure why. Okay, so I read the book and it is true, there are a couple of dicey spots that are difficult to stomach particularly if you love animals, but the diciest spot is almost parenthetical to the plot and if you are anything like me you will be able to get through it pretty much psychologically unscathed. I should explain that I have an over active imagination and horrific images stay with me for decades. I didn’t like the dicey couple of sections in this book but they aren’t glued to my psyche causing me torment. You might have a different reaction but I thought sharing my experience might be helpful. I have given this five stars but truth is it may be more of a four star book, I’ve been wavering on that. I very much like the characters so I am boosting to five stars for their sake. 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. 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 build 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
Anonymous 8 months ago
Pad in.(((did l say beef res nineteen? I think not!