This radio series is a collection of short pieces reflecting on life, love, and death among the species. It contains monologues, montages, portraits, and dreams. Some are funny, some are strange, some enlightening, some sobering:
"Hide and Seek": Animal trainer and behaviorist Ken Decroo tells the story of the first time he talked to a chimpanzee and the chimp talked back. An aural metaphor ends this piece.
"Noah's Ark": A strange blend of Beethoven and speculation about the thoughts of cattle at the moment of death. (Caveat: contains some graphic description of the slaughtering process)
"Snakes": A montage meditating on the worth, or worthlessness, of the legless reptile. Civilized and primitive man collide...In discussing the snake, the human is revealed.
"Treeline": Vietnam veteran Jim McMullen tells of the time he shot a blackbird outside his hometown, and was compelled to destroy his weapons for good.
"Michi Belle White and the Birds": A portrait of a California woman who takes in sick wild birds and fills her house with them.
"Killer Whales": A brief sound essay on the derivation of this whale's name, its seductive behavior toward the producer's wife, and its penchant for making repulsive noises.
"Subtext: Communicating with Horses": An animal psychologist searches for the source of one horse's ennui. The horse responds with a story of dislocation and lost youth.
"Reflections of Fathers": a.k.a. "Bugs and Dads," this piece is about John May's insect museum, his love for his father, and the reflections of all fathers in all children.
"Dog's Dreams": A meditation on the longtime relationship between man and dog. What are our dreams about each other...and our nightmares?
"Cross my Path": Leo Grillo can't stand to see an animal suffer. So he's got about 300 stray dogs and cats, and if he can't find homes for them, he keeps them until they die of natural causes.
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random opinions about animals
If any of it were actually based on facts about animals
I was annoyed and incredulous. This book's stories have nothing to do with facts or truths about animals. It is a hodge-podge of mostly unqualified people giving you opinions of what they think animals are like in ridiculously melodramatic language. (As an example, there was a super long drawn out story where some lady went to a slaughterhouse and heard the animals telling her that they were glad they were going to slaughtered so they could be eaten by her...????) If you want to hear a bunch of randos give you their impressions of how animals are in their heads, by all means purchase this book. If you actually want to learn anything interesting or real about animals, I suggest that you purchase something by an author like David Attenborough.
Not bad but not good
- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."