The Blessings of the Animals

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Title: The Blessings of the Animals
Author: Katrina Kittle
Pages: 424
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial (Harper Collins)
Release Date: August 3, 2010

I don't know how Katrina Kittle does it... this is the third book of hers that I've read (with her first published book recently added to my TBR) and I have absolutely adored all of them. The Blessings of the Animals was no exception. It's just something about the way she brings the characters to life and makes them (and everything about the novel) feel so genuine. There was just a certain quality to this book (and the others I've read) that sets it apart from many of the other books I've read, but I haven't quite put my finger on what it is specifically. I just loved it!

The Blessings of the Animals is about a veterinarian, Cami, who also volunteers for the Humane Society rescuing animals who have been abused and neglected. Cami is shocked when her husband leaves her, and she turns to her friends and family, but especially her animals, for love and healing. It's so true that animals/pets can be healing. Reading this made me want a farm full of animals, including a horse, and I'm not a "country" type of person, lol! Even the characters of the animals in this book were each unique and well defined! Whether it was Moonshot, the initially angry but loving to Cami horse, or Muriel, the HILARIOUS goat that they keep finding in the funniest places, or Gerald, the three legged cat. Blessings had a great cast of characters in addition to Cami and the animals to love including the 17-year-old daughter, Gabriella, who is an independent, lovable, deep thinker kind of girl whose character I loved as well.

The main subject of this book, however, other than animals' abilities to heal was that of marriage... What does marriage mean? What's the purpose of it? Can it really last? etc. I found this topic fascinating as Cami's marriage ends and she embarks on this philosophical journey. A variety of other couples and relationships were scattered throughout the book that provided different perspectives to think about. Cami's brother is part of "The Davids" as he and his partner are both named Dave, and they battle with the inequalities of the laws of marriage; another couple chooses not to marry despite making a commitment to each other; Gabriella deals with young love and heartbreak, and she enacts a "marriage ban". It was an interesting topic to read about and one that would be great for book clubs.

One other aspect I thought was well done was the narration; the book was mainly narrated in first person by Cami. Then every once in a while there would be one chapter narrated in third person from the perspective of another character. There were probably five (or so) of these. It was a great way to get a sneak peek into what the other person was thinking while maintaining the majority of the story from the perspective of Cami.

In all, such a well written novel with characters you will love. The reading is engaging from the very beginning and just flowed so well. Cami's growth throughout the book was inspiring as well. Must-Read book by a Must-Read author!

Check out Katrina Kittle's website or follow her on Twitter @katrinakittle. Click here to listen to her interview with Book Club Girl on Blog Talk Radio.

I reviewed this book as part of the blog tour for TLC Book Tours. I was the last stop but in case you are interested in other viewpoints, check out the previous stops below.
Tuesday, August 3rd: Reviews From the Heart
Wednesday, August 4th: Rundpinne
Thursday, August 5th: Chick With Books
Tuesday, August 10th: Raging Bibliomania
Thursday, August 12th: Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, August 18th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, August 19th: Booksie’s Blog
Tuesday, August 24th: The Little Reader
Thursday, August 26th: Books and Things
Monday, August 30th: Café of Dreams


Zibilee said...

Oh, so glad that you loved this one! I agree, it was a fabulous read. I also agree that Kittle did a great job bringing up all the aspects and problems of marriage, and she did it in a really engaging way. Great review, Jenny!

Juju at Tales of said...

Oh this sounds beautiful!

Lynne said...

I'd like to read this. She was in St. Louis recently (or is coming here soon?) for an author event. I wished I'd read the book and gone to see her. I love animals, and I'm not a country girl either, but I would love to have farm animals.

Trisha said...

I don't read books with animals very often, but this one sounds interesting.

heathertlc said...

I love the idea of looking at marriage from so many different perspectives - other than the animals, it sounds like this was the biggest strength of the book. Thanks for being a part of the tour - I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much.

bermudaonion said...

This book was my first experience with Kittle's writing but it won't be my last. I loved it - you're right - the characters are fantastic. Cami felt like a friend by the end of the book.

Meg said...

I've heard such good things about this one -- definitely sounds like a book for my wishlist! That cover really grabs my attention, too.

Jenny said...

Heather -- Thanks! I think everyone who's read it so far has loved it!

Juju -- yes, it is!

Lynne -- doesn't it sound fun and peaceful? Of course, I'm sure the work would eventually get to me. after a day or two, lol!

Trisha -- I love my dog but I don't always love books with animals. This one was really good though.

Heathertlc -- yes, it was and it was very insightful!

Kathy -- I love when I start feeling like I KNOW the characters!

Meg -- yes, definitely read this one!

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