March 04, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul

Well, I'm home sick and have been dosing myself with "Chicken Soup" all day.  And I have to say, it's probably the Powerade making me feel better, not the books.  Especially this one, which was downright depressing.

If you couldn't guess, this particular Chicken Soup book is about pets.  The feathered and the furred kind and even a little bit of the scaly.  While most of the stories seem to be about dogs, there's quite a bit of cats, a few horses, a couple stories about birds, and even one about a snake.  The stories are somewhat memorable, mainly because they seem to try to make you shed a tear.  There is so much sickness, death, and abuse in this book that I can't really call it heartwarming.  For every positive story there are three more where the animal dies or develops cancer or its owner has cancer.  The story of "Frisk" was one of those sad ones, in which a poor old man has a cat who keeps coming down with a mysterious illness.  "Soul to Soul" has a woman who has been abused most her life lose more than one to death in a short period of time.  And I could go on.

The stories are mainly about the animals, but also about how they effected their owners as well.  And it really is the owner's pain that you feel in this book rather than the animals.  They're almost a side note as to how the people dealt with the pain they were feeling.  But there was some joy too, as animals really do make people feel happier.  And I especially enjoyed the stories of the service animals who made visits to hospitals and nursing homes. 

All of these are short stories so the book can be a quick read.  It's especially good if you only like reading a few pages a day, but it can also be read in one sitting.  I do have one major complaint though, and that is that one of the stories in this book (about a horse) is also in one of the other chicken soup books.  As many stories that they get submitted for these things there is no excuse for a story to be recycled.  Ever.  But alas, this is not the only book that will do that.  I just think it's a shame that they don't try to make every work wholly original from the others. 

An ok book if you don't mind sad tales, but perhaps not what someone who enjoys uplifting tales would appreciate.  While all of the stories do show the compassion of animals, ultimately, this book is too heart-wrenching.

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
Copyright 1998
403 pages

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