The Other Animals, edited by Rachel Hamburg, is a collection of eight stories that gives a much needed shout-out to the underdog. Not literally a dog though, because if there is any animal that demands attention from humans – it’s those of the canine persuasion. We’re talking vultures, worms, scorpions, crows, whales, water striders. You know, the animals that we either ignore, fear, or turn our noses up to.
A description of the book states the stories are written “by a crew of scientists, literary writers, and comics, and informed by animal behavioral science – explores what animal perspectives can show humans about the world we all share.” So, you’ll know more after reading this and be better for it. The stories all have some sort of fictional story that leads the reader along as you learn real tidbits about how these amazing and often overlooked creatures survive, mate, find food, and tolerate the most destructive and cruel animal of all: human beings. As I write this, there is literally a fire destroying the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico because of a leaky gas pipeline. Way to go, homosapiens.
My favorite short story was Rectangles, which is from the perspective of a crow (hence why I chose that as the inspired art piece). It was a beautiful, heartbreaking story. And one that I think is good enough to be turned into a movie.
I also thought Hamburg’s prologue was incredibly heartfelt. I wanted to give her a hug knowing that she went through so much mental anguish prior to working on this book. I felt it was profound that she spoke of the human condition, namely her own, because it is necessary to understand ourselves and our struggles if we are ever to truly accept and protect the wildlife and ecosystem we are a part of. We must take care of ourselves so that we can think outside of ourselves.
Worth the listen! Available on Audible