Title: How To Be A Good Creature by Sy Montgomery
Publisher: HMH Books
In a nutshell (Amazon):
National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals—her friends—who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green.
Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet’s rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy’s life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets.
This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy’s friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.
Firstly, HAAAAAAPPY 2019!!! How are you celebrating your first day of 2019? Me? Pretty much the same. Stay home. Look after the kids.
Oh! Also, did you stay up for the countdown? I did. It’s a must-do for me and my husband every year 😅
Sorry, I digressed. Now back to the book. OK. You have to start your new year with this memoir! It’s moving, inspiring and honest. Reading this book is like watching a documentary on TV, only this one, you’ll feel the author’s love, passion and emotions.
It’s about lessons these wonderful creatures taught her. They were her teachers and mentors, and most of all, the most loyal of friends. In this memoir, I met the most amazing creatures, from the tenacious border collies to furry giant tarantulas, and ones I’ve never heard of before like the mountain cuscus, pademelons, dorcopsis, and Matschie’s tree kangaroos! I Googled them and oh my, were they beautiful! I can hardly imagine how Montgomery felt when being in their company!
Montgomery was saved by these animals time and time again. When her life was going on a downward spiral, a loving piglet, whom she named Christopher Hogwood, lifted her up and taught her ‘how to love with what life gives you. Even when life gives you slop’ and how to befriend other humans (she’s not one who knows how to be with other humans), bringing her joy she thought she’d never experience.
When she lost Chris, her pig, and Tess her dog, the Matschie’s tree kangaroos freed her from her severe depression, reminding her about life and its beauty; and Tess, who appeared in her dream, showed her that life is about believing in second chances. Octavia the octopus made her realize friendship can be extended to all living creatures – land and sea, vertebrates and invertebrates, and Clarabelle, the tarantula, taught her all creatures, big and small, play an important part in our world.
Told in 10 heartfelt chapters, the stories of these animals showed me how much more animals can offer us besides companionship. They showed me how we can be better humans, the importance of opening our hearts and loving all that inhabit this earth. They reminded me that beauty is everywhere, if only we use our hearts to see.
And the illustrations…oh…so…gorgeous!! I’m so glad I got this when I saw it at Target!!
Beautiful. A must-read for all. Animal lover or not.
Do you have a must-read to kick off your New YEAR? Any 2019 reading goals? For me, not really. Just go with the flow. Oh, one thing I want to do slightly differently though, is try clear my TBR and bring it down to a manageable stack 😁😅
Till then, HAPPY READING!