About the author: Tim Rowland is an award-winning columnist at Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Maryland. He has written for numerous history and outdoor magazines and news syndicates nationwide. He has also authored several books, most recently Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War.
About the book: When Tim Rowland’s earlier book of his animal essays, ALL PETS ARE OFF, was published, readers immediately clamored for more. Their preference for animal stories over the political columns Tim’s also known for is understandable: animals are way more fun to read about than politicians. Especially now. So here’s a new volume of over 75 columns, from the introduction to the farm of bovines Cleopatra and Heifertiti, the Belted Galloway beauties, to the further antics of Hannah the English Bulldog and Juliet the tiny Siames - and of course, more of the joyful bouvier des Flandres named Opie - that’s sure to provide loads of smiles and even outright guffaws.
My thoughts: Chaotic, confusing, hilarious. Being an animal lover, I was looking forward to reading this book. But at the same time, I've read many non-fiction / fiction accounts of animals, which were too personified and didn't seem real; so I wasn't sure what to expect from the book. My first thought as I read the book was: wow, he really gets animals. Every creature has a quirky, characteristic personality, very different from a human's but very striking. Considering I was only ever acquainted with the various personalities of cats and dogs, I found these essays about all sorts of farm animals full of surprises.
The thing I appreciated the most is that the book can be started at any random point in the middle, and the tales don't have to be read in order. It's the perfect book to take along on a holiday, quick, breezy and funny. Of course, all the fun aside, it's also informative, touching and insightful. The only thing that freaked me out is the idea that all the anonymous animals, whose curious eccentricities we never get to know, are sent off to the slaughterhouse - it has a strange morbidity to it, that you just need to be ready to overlook.
I liked the conversational tone of the book. The adventures on the farm are endlessly entertaining. I found myself constantly chuckling and copying down things that I wanted to share with my fellow animal lovers. Halfway into the book I realized I had literally copied down almost everything I'd read, so I scrapped the idea and decided to tell everyone and anyone who has ever known an animal: You would love the book! I could guarantee a pet-owner a lot of fun and the pet a huge "I love you soo much." and a bowlful of treats, which mine received once I was done reading this.
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