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Because “grieving for an animal can be a pretty lonely place,” Barbara Abercrombie created this joyful, poignant, funny, and smart collection of commiseration. Readers meet the cat who entered a neighbor’s window and got in bed with strangers, the dog who demanded down pillows, and even a coyote who became part of the family. The essays highlight the sometimes surprising things animals add to a household — and how their loss reverberates. Because these are such fine writers, each essay also reveals larger truths about life. Whether the reader is grieving a loss, cherishing a current companion, or simply relishing a tale well told, the message is clear: it is better to have loved and lost...
* All royalties will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society
* Includes stories by Anne Lamott, Jane Smiley, Jacqueline Winspear, Carolyn See, Mark Doty, and many others
|Publisher:||New World Library|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Barbara Abercrombie, an author of books for both children and adults, teaches creative writing in the Writers' Program at UCLA Extension and conducts writing workshops for the Wellness Community. She lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California, and Twin Bridges, Montana.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Once you have loved an animal, your life is enriched. When they die, a little bit of you dies also.
The loss of a beloved animal is often best commiserated among fellow pet owners. Those who do not have a four-legged family member in their lives often cannot comprehend the inconsolable void that accompanies the death of a pet. When the earthly bond of unconditional love is shattered, only the memory of it remains. That is the empathetic feeling that is captured in the short story collection, Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost edited by Barbara Abercrombie. It is a heartfelt look at bereavement and grief throughout the animal spectrum. There is no defined limitation as to what constitutes a pet, and each of the contributors reflects on the specific losses they have endured. For many, it is the first time they have turned to writing in order to express the emotions that accompanied their final good-byes. The standout piece of the anthology is "True Love" by Samantha Dunn concerning her horse, Gabe. In a fitting description, she writes, "I see him again each time I go to a movie theater and the logo for TriStar Pictures appears on the screen - the strong white chest, the thundering legs." What makes this relationship even more remarkable is that at the time, Samantha was living in a trailer park - not the typical residence of a horse owner. Throughout her teenage years, Samantha enjoyed riding and caring for Gabe. It is not until she returned home during a college break that she learned that her grandmother had sold the elderly equine to a children's summer camp. Samantha never found out if this story was true, or just something her grandmother told her in order to comfort her about Gabe's final resting place. Choosing not to uncover the truth, this unresolved ending still effects Samantha to this day. In "Party Girl," Monica Holloway explores the animal-autism connection between her son, Wills and their shepherd-collie mix, Hallie. Monica shares, "there was a deep love between them, but it was as if Hallie were a protective aunt, standoffish but fiercely protective." When Wills was 12-years-old, he returned the favor. After Hallie fell into the pool and her arthritic body sank like a stone, it was Wills who jumped in and saved her. Pretty impressive for an autistic boy who didn't like getting his clothes wet. As the selection comes to an end, Hallie is rapidly approaching her final days. Monica ends with a poignant thought, "Hallie ... has been the one constant through the years, completely devoted but asking nothing in return." It is a fitting summation of love between pets and owners everywhere. The subject matter of the book may be one that many readers will be afraid to approach. The loss of one's pet is hard enough without having to endure the blow-by-blow accounts of other owners for over 200 pages. The repeated scenes of physical deterioration and subsequent euthanization do not make for happy reading. The ending of each story is known before diving in. While it can lead to an experience of continual heartbreak, the collection's intention is to help a pet owner through the grieving process by being able to gain insight from the coping strategies of others. Whether this is a helpful strategy or not is up to the needs of the individual reader.