Name All the Animals: A Memoir

Name All the Animals: A Memoir

by Alison Smith
4.2 17

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Name All the Animals: A Memoir by Alison Smith

The critically acclaimed, heartbreaking memoir that is at once a gorgeous, profound, and redemptive story of a family holding desperately to the memory of a lost child; and a touching, intelligent, and inspiring coming-out story.

A luminous, true story, Name All the Animals is an unparalleled account of grief and secret love: the tale of a family clinging to the memory of a lost child, and of a young woman struggling to define herself in the wake of his loss. As children, siblings Alison and Roy Smith were so close that their mother called them by one name, Alroy. But when Alison was fifteen, she woke one day to learn that Roy, eighteen, was dead.

Heartbreaking but hopeful, this extraordinary memoir explores the aftermath of Roy’s death: his parents’ enduring romance, the faith of a deeply religious community, and the excitement and anguish of Alison's first love—a taboo relationship that opens up a world beyond the death of her brother.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743267021
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 03/10/2004
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 963,197
File size: 402 KB

About the Author

Alison Smith has been a resident at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's and various anthologies. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Please visit


Brooklyn, New York

Date of Birth:

December 12, 1968

Place of Birth:

Rochester, New York


B.A., Brown University, 1992

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Name All the Animals 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a true story, which is why it's described as a memoir. But it could just as easily have been published as a novel. It has all the character development, suspense, narrative arc, and beautiful writing of the best literary fiction. So don't dismiss it if you're not a big memoir fan. It should appeal to fiction and nonfiction readers equally. But regardless of how it's categorized, I could NOT put this book down. I read it every second I could and couldn't bear to be away from it when I was at work. The grief made my heart break, but the love story, and Alison's success in figuring out who she is, just made my heart swell. It's such a gorgeous, moving portrait of a family, both in grief and in love. It's told through the 15-year-old eyes of the author, and she just GETS adolescence. I was sent spiralling back to my own memories of high school, and the unique, electric, unforgettable experience of first love. It's one of those unforgettable books that only come along every so often. I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not too many books about losing a brother. Believe me, I have tried to find them, as it happened to me. Thank you beautiful author. Your words ring true. Never a more wonderful and descriptive story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tchrreader More than 1 year ago
This is a true story about a family and their tragedy. The story is about fifteen year old Allison who loses her brother, Roy in a car accident. She ends up going to an all girls Catholic school. The story is the family living through this tragedy. It is a good book, there are some slow spots (I guess that is how real life is) :) I felt badly for Allison, being the sibling who lost a sibling is very difficult. This is a good, true life story that you will enjoy reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mikety_mac More than 1 year ago
Name all the Animals, was such an inspiring and touching story to my heart. I can't believe all Alison has went through, it really does show how strong one can be to get through all the beef that life throws at you. Alison and her brother Roy, were very close as kids. There mother called them Alroy because of how often she found them together. Alison faces, being the "The sister of her brother who died", finding her first true love, losing everything she cared for, but yet she still lives on. I recommend this book for anyone to read, and also anyone out there that has emotional troubles and would like to have a different perspective on how to deal with it. I guarantee you'll enjoy this book, and it will change your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I realize this book has won an award, but it was boring for me. After I got throught the first 100 pages I was tired. You dont even get to the point of the book until the end and then you dont care because it took so long. It was an easy read, but I'll pass it along and not keep it in my book collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful memoir about a family in distress and their so called 'survival tactics'. I was Especially interested in the book as I live in the area where the author lived and was able to relate to her surroundings. I am also from a very close knit Catholic family and I understand the faith we were raised with and how easily it is misplaced and/or shattered when you lose a loved one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started this book with the knowledge that it was a memoir and thought it would be about the author dealing with the death of her brother. Not true. The book is about how the author was/is dealing with being a lesbian. Not what I expected and not a topic I'm interested in. Her style of writing is easy and pleasant to read though, thus the 3 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great! It lured me away from the outside world and I had to finish it at all costs! Burning eyes and fatigue did not stop me- I was unable to put the book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It was wonderfull written. It's one of the only books that made me want to cry. I kept wishing it wasn't real and that Roy was still alive. Wonderful book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was highly recommended to read this book, and I would pass the recommendation along to anyone else! It took me awhile to get throught it, but if you keep on, it's rewarding. And I loved the's worth it to get all the way through!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Think you have experienced troubles? Do you feel sorry for yourself at times? Pick up this heart warming book and come to the realization that nothing is as bad as you may think it is. This book forces you to think about things that we all very carefully file away into the back of our minds under 'it happens to other people'. Too many of us need to face these kind of issues head on. Alison Smith takes a difficult topic and stays the truth. How refreshing! She had me laughing, crying, thinking...and that was all within the first 30 minutes of reading this fantastic book. If you are tired of books having no substance, no ability to reach deep into your senses....then buy this book. I am confident that you will not be sorry! Thanks Alison for a great read. What a wonderful first book! You touched my heart and my mind....for that I thank you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I truly loved this book. I could not put it down. The book was so captivating and well written. I felt her grief and heartrendering family relationship so completely. It was a very moving book and I look forward to anything Ms. Smith writes in the future.