SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
But seriously, this book is totally worth the profanity. Like, who the hell cares, right? People are who they are, and Jackson Galaxy rocks in my book. This is one incredibly messed up man who I can completely relate to, having made some pretty poor choices in my time. (It's hard out there! It's hard in here! It's hard!) He gives us, the reader/listener complete access to his life, no excuses, well, plenty of the excuses he made at the time, knowing how totally full of it he was (is that bravery, honesty, or what?), and let's us walk/stagger along in his shoes. It's quite a journey. Especially when we get to the two, what my husband and I call, God Moments:
He applies, and gets a job at an animal shelter.
He offers to foster, then adopts a horribly injured cat named Omni (OMNI, for gosh sakes! Whatthehell?!?)
The book up until Omni/Benny is pretty great. Because Galaxy's got the gift o' the gato. If you love cats, you'll be reassured of some of the things you've been using already, and you'll learn a few more things. I remember this one cat I worked with after Hurricane Katrina: It was so terrified in its cage, would NOT sleep. I crouched away from it, did the gentle blinking, softly stroked the blanket by the opening of its cage and whispered rhythmically until I could get it to fall asleep. Took 1hr. 15mins. and I stayed there so it could have 20 mins. REM sleep and I was in PAIN. But as Galaxy says (and demonstrates) over and over through this wonderful, marvelous book: Screw all that! They are SO worth it!
The real wonder of the book comes with the arrival of Benny because Benny is an eye opener, a game changer, the best damned cat ever.
Benny's the kind of cat that makes you swear you'll write a book about
Benny's the kind of cat that makes this an, oh-so worthy listen!
I've been seeing this book on Amazon for eons and have been waiting faithfully for an audio version, until Ta-Dah! Here it is! And this audiobook is well worth the wait. It's not quite The Elephant Whisperer, the only flaw being, really, some slight repetition of stories we already heard from earlier books, but this is a really wonderful stand alone book.
The narrative starts at the early part of the war when chaos and looters abound, when Iraq's infrastructure has completely collapsed. Lawrence Anthony, who is driven to help, really has his hands full, and it's amazing how tenacious he and the Iraqi (and Kuwaiti) workers are in trying to keep the handful of surviving zoo animals alive.
It's touching and inspiring, that in a land being torn apart by violence and war, people come together: soldiers, journalists, international volunteers--all to help, all to do what they can, whether offering MREs, to, well, I won't spoil it...
And once again, Simon Vance's narration is brilliant. Who knew he could do so many accents, one right after another?
People may find this book offensive, considering how things have turned out/are turning out in Iraq: the continuing violence, the heartache and tragedy. They might think: Why is all this being done for animals and not humans?
I'd like to offer that there are many, many groups, international and otherwise, and there are governments who are dedicated to working on the human issues. But who is looking out for the least of God's creatures? Those who don't have a say in how they are treated? And may I offer: Can't we alleviate some suffering somewhere?
I was totally burnt out, had been reading a lot of nonfiction re: totalitarian regimes, genocide, famines. The last thing I was in the mood for was war. I was searching for a nice, uplifting animal book. Full Disclosure: I'm a sucker for a good animal book. "The Dog Who Could Fly" came up, and Military History? With a Dog? I suddenly got my second wind and I was SOLD!
The story follows Robert Bozdech from his fateful rescue of Antis through life during the war. This is a great audiobook of a jolly decent length (not short by any means), so it's packed full with a touch of the mundane (life on base with a really lively dog, and also, just how does one go chatting up a woman on a train when your dog haaaates her?), but mostly full of the daring and dangerous missions of the servicemen.
I know that animals aren't capable of sitting back, weighing life and death decisions, but honestly. Antis seems to do just that. His absolute devotion to the men, and to Robert above all others is astounding. You'll get to know many of the men who loved Antis, and it's extraordinary how creative they were in helping to keep Antis on base, or in helping Antis to fly: in their eyes, he was one of them.
I won't throw in any spoilers, but there's one part I almost stopped listening near the end. Robert, intending well, I guess, decides there needs to be a "tough love/things-must-happen-this-way" for such and such reasons. It was horrible to listen to because things go terribly awry (Note to Robert: You can't turn love on and off like a light switch).
Listen through it, stick with this book. It's a heartwarming, exciting "read."