Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unsaid, by Neil Abramson

Unsaid: A Novel

Helena was a lifelong animal lover, so much so that she became a vet.  But now that she has died, she is haunted by all the lives she, as a vet, had to take having had to euthanize animals.  Her guilt keeps her tied to this world, tied to her husband, and the animals she owned.  We see through her eyes how people adjust to her being gone, and the impact her life had on so many.

As an animal lover, and a pet owner, this book broke my heart.  I had to put it down for days on end, because I could not take hearing about animals being sick, or dying.  It was a tough read, but well worth sticking it out.  The story is a unique view of how a person can impact the lives of those around them (those that are 4 legged and those that are 2 legged) and how that person can change this world for the better without even realizing it.

It was sad to get to know Helena as a character, knowing she was already dead, and even her memories of life were being remembered through the eyes of a ghost.  But she is a powerful and compelling character.  I loved when she interacted with or talked about her husband.  It seemed so real, such a genuine portrait of how one grieves over the loss of a spouse.

The storyline is dramatic, and intense.  I imagine this would be a tough read for many animal lovers, or those still tender from the loss of a loved one, but that same demographic may also appreciate the book in ways most would not.  While this was a difficult read for me due to subject matter, it was a wonderful book, and I am glad I stuck it out to the end.  I found its frankness quite touching.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher.

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