Review: Just Life by Neil Abramson

As a general rule, I typically decline any and all books to do with dogs because they just give me too many feels…..good bad or otherwise!

However, there was something about this one that sounded really intriguing…..maybe it was the hint of a scientific type of story line…..I don’t know but something just said ‘read me’ about this book.

An unidentified virus is spreading through the New York City neighborhood of Riverside, near Central Park.

Despite the desperate need for answers, the medical community can only determine the cause is zoonotic, suggesting birds one day and dogs the next as the possible source.

Despite the lack of information, the politically ambitious governor orders the National Guard to enforce a quarantine of all dogs. At the heart of this conflict, veterinarian Samantha Lewis is struggling to keep her no-kill shelter open.

She finds support in a motley crew of friends that range from a local priest, to a troubled nineteen-year-old emancipated foster child, to a former psychologist whose life was destroyed by addiction. But the one person that Sam needs is the last one she’d ever want to call on–and contacting him will mean confronting every painful memory of her past.

While this is a wonderfully written novel that will move you in many ways… gave me just too many feels! I was torn between wanting to finish it but the sweet cuddly dogs that needed protecting were just doing me in! I can’t stand to see sick animals or anything like that….it does me in every time and when I am reading I don’t want to book that makes me cry. Yet at the same time there was just something about this book that kept me hooked….feels and all!

This book was complex and multi layered. It was so much more than just a book about pets and science–it was a book about faith and relationships as well. There was an element of suspense to the story which I also felt was well done. The characters were not cliche in any way, even the villain of the story was complicated and didn’t fit into the traditional ‘villain’ category. She simply felt that she had a purpose so you couldn’t fully dislike her.

Sam as a main character was wonderful! I loved her. Her tenacity was admirable and her ability to face a traumatic past won me over as a reader. I love characters who win me over and show their worth on the pages!

I have never read anything by this author nor am I familiar with his writing style etc. I was impressed with his level of knowledge on humanitarian issues. He made me think about how our society addresses issues like animal abuse etc. It made me question what I would do if there was a viral outbreak and I had to choose between my dog and the virus etc. This would be an interesting book to debate in a political science class or something similar.

A couple of things to note, there was a lot of profanity in the book…..for me personally it didn’t bother me but I know some readers are sensitive to things like that so just something to keep in mind if you are considering reading this book. The other thing I didn’t especially like was the cover of the novel. I know that sounds trivial but for me a catching cover is important. I would have liked the dog to be a little more eye catching.

With the darker colors of the police and the person holding the dog on the cover, I felt his brown coat got lost. I would have liked to have seen a lighter shirt on the guy holding the dog so there was more of a contrast. I am not a huge fan of ‘real life’ photos on the covers of books so I wondered if maybe just a picture of the dog would have worked better than a whole scene? Not sure but the cover just didn’t grab me like I had hoped and this is a really wonderful read (feels and all) and I felt like I would probably have passed it up based on the wanting cover.

If you are looking for a read that will make you think and question some of your social values and also inspire you then this is a great choice! I really liked this one even though I got a little emotional over the dogs, it was a thrilling read!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Just Life by Neil Abramson

  • Kindle Edition
    Published May 10th 2016 by Center Street
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: animals, contempo fiction

Memorable lines/quotes: NA


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