©2009 Temple Grandin; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
The reader was engaging. The information is valuable and practical, making the case for conscientious practicality over idealism.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. With the help of her parents and teachers, Grandin overcame communication difficulties created by autism. After receiving masters and doctoral degrees in animal science, Grandin has worked as a consultant to large slaughter houses and zoos to improve the quality of life for soon-to-be slaughtered cattle and imprisoned wildlife.
As an educator, biologist, and writer, Grandin acknowledges the cycle of life but argues that humans do not have to be cruel when raising livestock, slaughtering animals, or confining animal’ species in restricted environments. Grandin proposes improvements in animal husbandry; particularly for animals grown to be slaughtered but also animals confined to zoos and nature preserves.
Grandin and Johnson’s fundamental insight is that humans need to observe their animals to understand what they like, what they fear, what causes panic and rage, and how humans can make them happy within the circumstances of their lives.
Temple Grandin has a beautiful insight into the behavior of animals. She is not overly sentimental, but instead of clearly interested in all animals being treated with dignity and respect. This book makes me want to read all of her other books.
I love Temple Grandin's writing. She's just one of those people who makes fascinating observations of the world. Her curatorial sense of what's interesting and worthy to share is spot on. For example: wolves in the wild are not, in spite of everything we hear, pack animals. Wolves prefer to live in nuclear families.
That being said, Animals in Translation is the better of her two animal books. (She also wrote Thinking in Pictures about autism.) AMUH is more of a guide about specific animals. She goes through them in sequence: dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, chickens. If you're looking for a manual with specifics for your pet, or if you're a professional who works with animals, this is the more appropriate book. If you're more curious for insights into animal behavior and what it can teach us about our own humanity, Animals in Translation is definitely the place to start. If you like that, this book is enjoyable too, but understand that it's more of a how-to manual for interacting with different types of animals, and packs fewer fascinating new ideas per hour than AiT.
I loved this book. She is so totally amazing in her understanding of animals and human nature. People who eat meat should be required to listen to this book, then they would make sure that the animals they consume (especially chickens) are treated humanely.
The narrator is just not too lively. The book is not too lively. I'm more than 1/2 way through and I have yet to hear anything that is suggestive of the title - unless, we recognize our humanity by (a) owning or caging any animal we desire to own or cage; and (b) once we have them caged we have to learn how to continue to keep them caged successfully. Somewhere in the owning and caging I missed the part that supports doing those acts makes us human. The attitude that we can own and cage any animal that is not human somehow makes me feel a little less human. Learning tricks to continue to keep them caged successfully makes me feel a little bit sick not human. I will finish reading/listening to this book but I think the author is now on an uphill battle to try and successfully pull this off.
I LOVE audiobooks. Audible is the only way I read my favorite books.
I liked listening to the way Ms. Grandin thinks. Also, Andrea Gallo does a good job of expressing Ms. Grandin's thought. Temple Grandin has had an amazing career in animal science and really enjoyed the way this book made the reader look at the world from the animal's point of view.
The writing was amateur. I have read Grandin's other works and felt they adequately reflected her intelligence and keen observations. This book just seemed to be full of cute little stories about animals that were more whimsy than rooted in scientific research. As others have mentioned, it's also repetitive and poorly organized. She seems to meander around an idea, or title a section/chapter a certain way, and only peripherally touch on the subject. Just not well writtten at all.
Throughout, Grandin refers to "a woman I know" as "a lady I know" (or even more annoying, as the "shelter lady" for a woman running an animal shelter). This use of "lady" got under my skin for some reason. It just sounded like a kid was recounting a story and didn't have sufficient details to really tell it well. I also got annoyed when just about every sentence seemed to begin with "I think..." Of course we know this is what you think -- your name is on the book! The narrator's peculiar lilt while saying "I think" also made it sound like a little kid was reading from a script and emphasizing in all the wrong places. Little things like that just made the book lack dignity and sophistication.
The book is sorely in need of an editor who can do Grandin's observations justice.
Not at all.
She didn't have much to work with since the writing was very childlike. Another reviewer called it "junior highschoolish." I would agree with that. Simple sentences, phrases, and references to women as "ladies" made it sound like she was speaking to children. The narrator spoke so slowly I had to speed the track up just to tolerate it. She overemphasized certain words such that I felt like I was being read a bedtime story. I don't blame this reading entirely on the narrator, since, as I said, she didn't have a lot to work with in the first place.
Whether Temple's assumptions about animals' emotions, comfort levels, and communication are accurate or not...no matter, as the entertainment value of this listen is high. If you love animals, you'll enjoy this book.
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