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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/07/2006 Archived Entry: "Book Review - If Only They Could Talk: The Miracles of Spring Farm"

If Only They Could Talk: The Miracles of Spring Farm
by Bonnie Jones Reynolds and Dawn E. Hayman
Published by Pocket Books

Review by Kathryn Ramage

On the one hand, there is a fairly interesting story here, along the lines of the veterinary tales of James Herriot, about two women who made their farm into a haven for strays, and eventually into a charitable organization dedicated to caring for abused, neglected, and abandoned animals. Several of the stories of badly mistreated animals being found and rescued were really moving.

On the other hand, these stories are frequently infused with a goopy anthropomorphism that assumes the animals really do talk, and communicate with humans on common terms.

If the book took itself less seriously on this point, I might be more tolerant--after all, what pet owner doesn't have conversations with his or her pet and sometimes provide both sides of the dialog? But the absurdity of having a discussion with a tom-cat about whether or not to have him neutered (the cat says No), or a mouse having a friendly chat with a group of cats, presented with all sincerity, is too much. One case, in which a pony details a fitting punishment for the people who abandoned it, I feel undermines the animal's real, mute suffering; if the pony's rescuers felt that way, why not express their opinions for themselves, instead of putting too-human words in its mouth?

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