Unsaid: A Novel

Unsaid: A Novel

by Neil Abramson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599954097
Publisher: Center Street
Publication date: 06/05/2012
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 138,345
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Neil Abramson is a partner in a Manhattan law firm, and his wife is a veterinarian. Abramson is also a past board member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an award recipient from the ASPCA for his legal work on behalf of animals, a founding member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Relating to Animals, and once represented a dolphin named Kama as a plaintiff in federal court.

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Unsaid 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 126 reviews.
redmagc More than 1 year ago
A unique, compelling and fast moving story-- I thoroughly enjoyed it and read the book in two intense sittings!!! That being said I happen to be a complete realist and very cynical person as well. Consequently I realize that many like minded folks may be more than hesitant to read this book given its unorthodox and unique premise. That notwithstanding, I strongly encourage folks like me to give this compelling book a chance--it will only take one chapter to grab you!! I also give even the most hard hearted human fair warning that they ought to keep a tissue box handy because they will be using it --more than once!! The story is told from the viewpoint of Helena, a recently deceased veterinarian who has not 'crossed over'. Helena remains earthbound watching over her bereft lawyer husband David and the animals she so loved. Helena is seemingly haunted by actions she took as a young veterinarian and was unable to forgive herself in life. And in death she yearns to 'right the wrong'. The author's stated day job is a lawyer. However I was pleased that the legal thriller story line--although essential to the story, well thought out and engaging--was not the main story line. The other story lines that weave through the book are more unique, interesting and compelling than the courtroom drama. Those story lines clearly increased the book's relevance to a wider audience than "the legal thriller groupies'. In addition, I found the supporting characters to be well developed with independent story lines that are compelling and complement and fully support the main themes. Of all the supporting characters I found Clifford, an autistic child as relevant to the story as the two main characters. Something unique from most novels. Although it is quite evident that animal lovers will rally behind this unique and compelling novel and they alone will make this novel a best seller, I think this compelling novel is equally relevant to anyone who has lost someone they have deeply loved and have found or are finding it difficult to work their way through that grief. This book is filled with hope and contains some real practical advice for those who are experiencing deep loss or have experienced such loss at any time in their life. Given the unique premise, interesting characters, and the level of compelling insight into raw human emotion this book would be ideal for book groups. I think it would inspire fabulous discussion and besides its a fabulous read--even worth a second read! ! A unique and compelling book!! (yes i used those two words over and over very purposefully--because this beautiful novel is UNIQUE and COMPELLING!!!!!! (and I was educated by Jesuits who taught you never to use an exclamation point--but this book is just too unique and compelling--I just had to!!!)
BookHounds More than 1 year ago
In a way, this book should have had the word atonement in the title since the story revolves around life, death and getting things right or merely getting things on the right path in order to resolve all those ethical questions that occur in everyone. Helena has just died from cancer and returns to her home and life as a veterinarian to check up on her husband, friends and animals. She finds her lawyer-husband David overwrought and not coping very well with the loss. Helena took in strays of all sorts, from horses to cats and anything in between, so David must cope with the misfit animals while trying to go back to his high powered career. The story becomes a legal thriller as well as one of redemption when Jaycee, Helena's best friend and research partner, requests David's help in a legal issue. Helena is just an observer and narrates her life history and the current affairs in her loved ones lives in such a profound and beautiful way. Her love of all animals has been a driving force in her life and David never really understood it until he faces the animals he must now care for. The animals are portrayed so perfectly that they just jump off the page with life. There are many little twists and turns in David's healing process and through each step he finds help in unusual ways. He hires Sally, a vet tech who is out of work, to care for the menagerie and along with Sally comes her autistic son, Clifford who really adds another dimension to the book. The end of the book truly caught me off guard. I really wasn't expecting the book to end this way, but everything is nicely resolved (sorry, no spoilers here). Any animal lover will adore this book since it gets right to the heart of animal rights. Fans of Garth Stein and Temple Grandin will love this sweet and powerful story about the human-animal connection.
mwinter More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great book with several storylines going on that made every page interesting. I started reading this and never put it down until I was finished. It had a little bit of everything in it. Great read!!
susanryan2 More than 1 year ago
i have never cried so much reading a book...from the first to the last page. a seriously heartwrenching book.
AllAboutRoses More than 1 year ago
This story validated all the feelings and communications I have experienced with beloved pets and other living creatures. It is beautifully written. I found some of it hard to read because of my love for animals--I felt the pain and grief. When i first started reading I thought, "This is the perfect book for animal lovers. Halfway thru I thought. "I'm too soft hearted for this book" but I couldn't put it down. By the final paragraph i thought, "What a wonderful story and lesson to be learned". (I will never look at a veterinarian the same again~wow, what a weight of responsibility they carry.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I have reviewed. It was the best bok I have ever read! I cried and cried. I reread the ending twice. Read it if you love animals and relationships!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are an animal person, you will love this book. The author treats animals fairly. If you are a fan of books like "All Thing Bright and Beautiful," you will love this book. The heroine is a vet. She is deceased, but because of her love for her husband and her animal, her spirit lives on the tell the story. She is trying to find a way to help her husband cope and so in lies the story line. You will laugh and cry. You will want to throw the book across the room. Mostly, you will want to read all of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a chance to preview the first two chapters of this book after reading a review online. Neil Abramson draws you in from the very first chapter. He has a wonderful way with words and even though there were several subplots within the story, he kept it fluid and non-confusing. His prose is beyond reproach. The book is narrated by a woman and I completely forgot that a man wrote this story - as a matter of fact, I told my friends that 'she' (the author) wrote so well :) Although I was anxious to find out how the story ends, I was kind of sad that it was over. I highly recommend this book and look forward to more books by the author.
KDavio More than 1 year ago
The author decided to tell a story not usual in telling - while this story is worth the time it takes to read I am not sure how long it will stay with you after. In my opinion, I would have liked more character depth of Clifford and his abilities; more character depth of Jimmy and his life; and more time spent with Skippy when it is his time to cross over the rainbow bridge. Instead of the seven year jump at the end of the book a longer writing so that we can experience some additional years with these characters. That being said, again this book was an enjoyable read and I would recommend to fellow animal/law lovers.
Chazzancwa More than 1 year ago
Unsaid by Neil Abramson is more than just a novel. It is a character study of the human condition. It examines how life, lives and loss can impact that condition and how ulitmately it can lead us to a place of true healing. On so many levels it is a book for every home.
ReadersFavorite-Reviews More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite This is a review of the audiobook "Unsaid" by Neil Abramson, read by Angela Brazil. Like most veterinarians, Helena had euthanized animals to ease their suffering. When she felt an animal still had a quality of life and a future, she brought it home with her. Helena was a woman of great compassion. At only 37 years of age her life ended. Helena found it difficult to move on. She wasn't sure why but she could not allow herself to completely leave this realm. David, Helena's husband, is devastated at his loss. He continues to live in the house he shared with his beloved wife and all of her many animals. However, he was just going through the motions. He finds reason to go on when he takes on Cindy's case. This story is narrated by Helena, after her death. She watches as her husband struggles to come to terms with living without her. She thinks back on how they met and ponders the memories of their life together. Before starting this book, grab a cup of hot tea and a box of tissues. More than once I found myself so caught up in the emotions expressed in this book that tears were running down my cheeks. I found the author's method of telling this story unique and brilliant. The characters have been superbly drawn. There is an important message in this book with respect to animal rights. I enjoyed this book. The voice of Angela Brazil is perfect. She gave Helena substance. There are a few scenes that may be too violent for animal lovers. I expect this book to hit the best seller list.
Michigan-Fan More than 1 year ago
The underlying theme of this story is communication however I have no words for this book....it is beautiful and magical and breathtaking. I hope everyone is lucky enough to get their hands on a copy of Unsaid...enough said.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
Very good but keep on your toes while reading. The characters move in and out of the chapters. You may think one is speaking then you realize it was someone else. Overall, the story was great. Thought provoking re: animals, their rights and how we relate to them. At then end, things were brought full circle but the ending seemed rushed compared with the rest of the book. I just felt that too many characters didn't get full development and the story vascilated between scenarios too often. Things got a bit muddled in the middle of the book. Worth the read but I have read better animal stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book captured my interest from the first page. However, being an animal lover, the cruelty to the chimps in the laboratories was too difficult for me to read. I wish it would have gone to another subject because the book was well written and I loved the narrative by the deceased wife. I skipped an entire chapter about Cindy and realized since the focus of the entire book was on saving this chimp the story, I couldn't finish it.
Donna Hurley More than 1 year ago
Didnt really know what the book was about, something to do with human animal bond. Wont give any more details, except read this book, i laughed, i cried and i learned. What more can you want from a book?
yeomans07 More than 1 year ago
I got to read this as a pre reader and absolutely loved it !!! I really enjoyed the multi layers of storylines attached to each character. Looking forward for the next work by Neil Abramson.
bpompon on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I got this book as an Advanced Reader copy from NetGalley and couldn't put it down. If you¿ve ever lost a family member either animal or human, this book will leave you totally drained. I sobbed through many parts of it but couldn¿t stop reading. For anyone who considers animals to be just property, maybe this book might help to enlighten. For those of us who know better, it will tear a little piece of your heart out.
gypsysmom on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Well, now that I've wiped my eyes and blown my nose I can do this review. Yes, it's a tearjerker but every once in a while it's good to have an excuse to cry.Helena was a veterinarian who died of cancer at the age of 37. Her husband, lawyer David, is bereft by her death. He barely has energy to care for himself let alone the dogs, cats, horses and one pig that cohabit with him. When he manages to get back to work at the high-powered Manhattan law firm he just doesn't have the old ambition. Then his wife's friend, Jaycee, comes to ask him to represent her because she has been let go from her research with a chimpanzee that has a 4 year old's communication skills. With her research over Jaycee knows Sally will go back to the government's primate labs and will be the subject of painful and probably fatal medical research.All of this story is related to us by Helena who is tied to the earth because of things left unsaid. It's one of the most poignant portrayals of life after death that I've read. And it also plucks the heartstrings because of the many interactions between animals and humans. If you've ever had to say goodbye to a beloved pet then you'll want to read this book.
JolleyG on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I am an animal lover and believe in animal rights, so I was certainly sympathetic to the theme of this book. While reading it I was somewhat reminded of "Ape House," but I think "Ape House" was the more effective book. The story line and the interesting "first person" perspective of the recently deceased Helena were both very good, but the book could have benefited from a bit more editing.
MaryinHB on LibraryThing 24 days ago
In a way, this book should have had the word atonement in the title since the story revolves around life, death and getting things right or merely getting things on the right path in order to resolve all those ethical questions that occur in everyone. Helena has just died from cancer and returns to her home and life as a veterinarian to check up on her husband, friends and animals. She finds her lawyer-husband David overwrought and not coping very well with the loss. Helena took in strays of all sorts, from horses to cats and anything in between, so David must cope with the misfit animals while trying to go back to his high powered career. The story becomes a legal thriller as well as one of redemption when Jaycee, Helena's best friend and research partner, requests David's help in a legal issue.Helena is just an observer and narrates her life history and the current affairs in her loved ones lives in such a profound and beautiful way. Her love of all animals has been a driving force in her life and David never really understood it until he faces the animals he must now care for. The animals are portrayed so perfectly that they just jump off the page with life. There are many little twists and turns in David's healing process and through each step he finds help in unusual ways. He hires Sally, a vet tech who is out of work, to care for the menagerie and along with Sally comes her autistic son, Clifford who really adds another dimension to the book.The end of the book truly caught me off guard. I really wasn't expecting the book to end this way, but everything is nicely resolved (sorry, no spoilers here). Any animal lover will adore this book since it gets right to the heart of animal rights. Fans of Garth Stein and Temple Grandin will love this sweet and powerful story about the human-animal connection.
jvandehy on LibraryThing 24 days ago
An intelligent, moving story. The author hit upon an effective, compelling way to portray an animal rights advocate that did not come off as preaching or elitist. The characters were touching and believable. In many places the writing is a little sketchy, but the novel story line carries the day. This is one veterinarian / animal rights story that appeals to those of us who would not usually classify ourselves as animal lovers.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing 24 days ago
It's very rare that a book reduces me to tears, but Unsaid had me reaching for the tissues as I read, curled up in the corner of my lounge. To be fair I was also recovering from a nasty illness and rather emotionally vulnerable, but even in hindsight the novel is a powerfully moving and beautiful piece of storytelling.Helena Colden drifts around the life she has left behind after her death from breast cancer, unable to do anything except witness the grief of her husband, friends and beloved pets. She is reluctant to move on, wracked by guilt over the secrets she has left behind and fearful of the price she may have to pay for her involvement in euthanising animals in her veterinarian practice. Helena narrates the story with a painful longing for what she has lost and left unfinished. While she mourns the loss of her relationship with her husband David, it is her relationship with the animals she has cared for that preoccupies her and is a focus of the story.Abramson explores the connection between humans and animals and the value each has to the other as companions. David is left to care for Helena's menagerie of animals with whom he has only a tenuous bond but caring for the pets gives him a means to honour Helena and their presence helps him to heal. Abramson's theme makes the case that a humans and animal life have equal value, both deserving of dignity and love.Ultimately, it is Helena's connection to a chimpanzee that provides the catalyst for both Helena and her husband to move on from her death. Cindy, a four year old chimpanzee who has been the subject of a language study, is threatened with being returned to the general pool of animals available for experimentation. Jaycee, Helena's former lab partner, asks David to serve as her lawyer to prevent that from happening. Observing, Helena hopes that David will be able to save Cindy and therefore atone for her college sins. Couched in such a highly emotive story, Abramson creates an emotionally compelling case for the respectful treatment of animals and this novel has the potential to re-ignite debate on the ethical treatment of animals.Beautifully written, Unsaid is a stirring and poignant debut novel that will touch the soul of animal lovers and compassionate readers alike.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This book smashed into my heart like no other, and I freely admit that I sobbed uncontrollably through the last 25 pages or so. This is a story of great love, great mistakes, great grief and greater happiness.Helena has died from breast cancer but cannot leave this world yet--her guilt holds her. She has to make amends, and she tried to do so until her dying breath, but didn't attain her goal. She must rely on her grieving husband to finish what she started, but that means that he must first find out about the horrifying mistake she made years ago, a hidden pain that has haunted her life, and now her death.The role of animals in the lives of humans is a constantly reoccurring theme in this book--Helena was a vet and also, secretly, involved in exciting research regarding communication with animals. Her death sets into motion a series of people to people meetings as well as animal to people connections, that steamroll into the ending that left me in tears. I don't want to tell you more--I want you to read the book. Keep the tissue box handy and just let yourself fall into the spell of this remarkable, unforgettable, stunning debut novel.
TooBusyReading on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Every living thing dies. There's no stopping it. In my experience ¿ and I've had more than my share ¿ endings rarely go well. There is absolutely nothing life affirming about death. You'd think that given the prevalence and irrevocability of death, whoever or whatever put the whole thing together would've given a little more attention to the process of exit. Maybe next time.So begins the novel Unsaid. A young veterinarian who has died of cancer looks down on her life knowing that she did some things right and some things very wrong. Especially wrong is what happened to the bonobo named Charlie. And what may happen to Cindy, a chimp who seems to be able to ¿speak¿ at the level of a 4-year old. Her husband is unwillingly drawn into the battle to protect Cindy.Helena seems to be unable to leave this world, haunted by what happened in her lifetime, by her husband's grief, by the lives that she, as a vet, took. If you believe my present predicament is merely the product of overreaction or perhaps cowardice, you may be right. But then I only have one question for you. How many lives have you taken?The crux of this novel is whether we have the right to intentionally cause great pain and suffering to sentient beings in order to try to alleviate some of the suffering of mankind. And does it make a difference if that animals in question are more intelligent than other animals? If they are capable of communicating with humans? Does the end justify the means? Most people who have given the subject any thought stand firmly on one side of the fence or the other, knowing that there are valid arguments on the other side.For the first few pages of the book, I thought it was going to be too agenda-driven for me. I'm better informed than many people on the subject of animal research and vivisection, and I didn't want to hear a sermon. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the message of the book was wrapped up in a good and very entertaining story. A quote that made me smile because it hits close to home is:My first serious boyfriend in college had a sky-blue Triumph TR7. I didn't really care for the boy, but I loved the car. What can I say in my defense except tell you that the car could go from a dead stop to sixty miles per house in less time than it took me to move his hand out from under my shirt.What makes that all the more entertaining is this quote is used to compare the car to Collette, Helena's surprisingly fast-moving pig who scares husband, David. I could also relate to:...Thanksgiving dinner at our house was all about carbohydrates ¿ mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, bread, a vegetable or two, and very good wine.And while speaking of one of her dogs:If that description of my relationship with Skippy strikes you as too anthropomorphic, then you have both my apologies and my pity.The reader who is easily moved to tears while reading emotionally charged books should have a box of tissues or an eco-friendly hankie handy. The writing was good but not stellar. Those who love animals will find some parts very hard to read. And everyone will come away with food for thought, whether or not they care to pursue those thoughts.I was given an advance reader's copy of the e-book by the publisher through NetGalley.com, for which I am grateful. Quotes may have changed in the finished edition.
Anonymous 12 months ago