Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review! | "Animals Make Us Human" by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson

After a month passing from the time I actually finished the book to now, I'm finally doing my review over the non-fiction book "Animals Make Us Human".
This book was recommended to me a few years ago by a close friend, and I got around to purchasing it earlier this year/late last year. As always, here's the Goodreads description:

Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for AnimalsThe best-selling animal advocate Temple Grandin offers the most exciting exploration of how animals feel since The Hidden Life of Dogs.

In her groundbreaking and best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel. Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life—on their terms, not ours.

It’s usually easy to pinpoint the cause of physical pain in animals, but to know what is causing them emotional distress is much harder. rawing on the latest research and her own work,Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals. Then she explains how to fulfill them for dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals.Whether it’s how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising, Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.

Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience.

This is essential reading for anyone who’s ever owned, cared for, or simply cared about an animal.

Honestly, after being away from the blog for a few weeks, this is the perfect review to help me ease back into the routine, because there isn't too much to say. As the description reads, the book focuses on how to make sure animals have the best welfare possible- using Grandin's expertise and childhood anecdotes to make the story read less like a scientific-psychological study, and more like a guide of sorts. 
The book is divided by animals grouping: dogs, cats, horses, poultry etc. So no matter what animals you encounter or are curious about, there will be information in the book for you.
The main problems I had with the book were these:
  1. The price: even the paperback of this book is around $15 cover price (though I think it goes for a little less on amazon), and even the ebook is $10. Granted, it's probably possible to find this book on sale or in the library, but if not, that's a lot of money to spend on one book depending on who you are. The price may also seem a little too much considering the other "flaws" I found with the book.
  2. The writing and content: the very reason you'll pick this book up could be a reason it's not amazing for you. It's non fiction and it's not a memoir or a compilation of stories- so there are plenty of times when the book becomes a little slow. Especially when you are no longer reading about animals you come into contact with on a regular basis (i.e. if you don't live on a farm, the chapters about cows, pigs, chickens...they may drag on for you). All the information is insightful and eye-opening, which will keep you interested, but it will still become a little dry if you aren't extremely interested in some of the animals discussed in the book. 
All in all, I liked the book. Despite the slower parts, I'm glad I read it, but I would definitely recommend you be a general animal lover if you want to read it- if you only like dogs, or cats..then most of the book will be uninteresting to you and there are plenty of books written about singular animal species.

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