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Unsaid

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,889 Ratings  ·  1,044 Reviews
As a veterinarian, Helena had mercifully escorted thousands of animals to the other side. Now, having died herself, she finds that it is not so easy to move on. She is terrified that her 37 years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena haunts-- and is haunted by-- the life she left behind. Meanwhile, David, her shattered attorney husband, struggl ...more
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published August 4th 2011 by Center Street (first published January 1st 2011)
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Molly G
Temple Grandin's review quote on the cover includes the sentence: "I was not able to put it down, and I read parts of it twice." Me, too; though I didn't realize she meant, you'd read a page, and as soon as you reached the bottom of it, you'd instantly go back read it again. You don't need any reminding of what was written, but you might as well enjoy the words one more time because you're still in the moment.

Very beautiful. Incredibly vivid—don't bother making the movie, just read the book and
...more
Carmen
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No One
I had to DNF this once the "magical autistic little boy who can communicate psychically with animals" showed up at 13%. Ugh.

This is about a woman who is dead and wanders around haunting/observing her bereft husband, pets, and colleagues. She was a vet and this book is very heavy into the ethics of animal testing and medical treatment etc. So it was already mopey, but then once an autistic little boy sneaks into an operating room and starts shouting "Grass grass grass!" while clutching a dying do
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Michele Harrod
Sep 18, 2011 Michele Harrod rated it liked it
Wasn't quite what I expected. If you've ever had to put down a beloved pet, then there is redemption here for you. If you have ever not had the courage to end an animals suffering, then you may find it in here. Hopefully, if you still use your hard earned cash to buy ANY product from a large corporation who continues to engage in animal testing, you will rethink your options. But overall, it's chick-lit for animal lovers, and I am not a fan of chick-lit. If you are, you will love it. Perfect hus ...more
Jade Eby
Aug 07, 2011 Jade Eby rated it it was amazing
Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

The Good: Oh. My. Gawd. This book has some of THE most beautiful sentences ever written. The language was not just beautifully written but there were a few sentences I shivered with how much I felt while reading them. I love the simple sentiment of this sentence, "In a long relationship, there are just some night when you're more in love than others. Whatever it is, you realize that you not only love him, but you're proud to be with him." It
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Jackie

This book smashed into my heart like no other, and I freely admit that I sobbed uncontrollably through the last 25 pages or so. This is a story of great love, great mistakes, great grief and greater happiness.

Helena has died from breast cancer but cannot leave this world yet--her guilt holds her. She has to make amends, and she tried to do so until her dying breath, but didn't attain her goal. She must rely on her grieving husband to finish what she started, but that means that he must first fin
...more
Julie H.
Apr 09, 2011 Julie H. rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
OMG, it's taken me almost two months to slog my way through this book. In fact, I actually took breaks from this book during which I read forensic thrillers, horror stories, and books that one might not normally consider emotionally "lighter" fare. Completing this book felt as though I'd finished some sort of emotional endurance contest. And just to be clear, if the plot of this book were some sort of contest, everyone loses in the end. This reminded me of one of Shakespeare's tragedies where th ...more
Cynthia
Sep 24, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it
"Unsaid" is one of those books that stays with you long after you've turned the last page. It leaves you questioning when a life should be considered valuable.Are human beings the only ones entitled to a peaceful, pain free existence? How far should humans be allowed to go in testing animals in order to improve a human beings life?

Helena, the narrator, is a recently deceased Veterinarian. The author leaves it to the reader to determine why Helena is able to see her husband, friends and coworker
...more
Susan
Oct 21, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
I had the privilege of reading a galley of this book and was asked to blurb it. I only blurb books I like...and I really liked this one. Disturbing, yes. The whole concept of human use of animals for human benefit is frightening because it exists. No amount of 'this is just a story' takes away from the fact that modern research still uses primates. That said, the main story of a man in despair at the death of his wife, being watched over by that wife, is a lovely construct and tender without fal ...more
Megan Jones
Jun 24, 2013 Megan Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was more amazing than I expected! There were so many dimensions to this moving novel. I found myself laughing, crying and relating to this book on so many levels. The author creates authentic characters whose flaws you sympathize with, whose happiness you smile with, and whose heartbreak brought tears to my eyes even sitting on an airplane. A quote on the book jacket so accurately recommends to "read it if you share your life with an animal, but more importantly, read it if you haven't ...more
☮Karen
Apr 09, 2013 ☮Karen rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. 5 stars for the subject matter and the fact that there were many very beautiful thoughts and phrases used throughout. Points deducted for some of the ways the storyline bounced back and forth, depending on where the narrator felt pulled, and things just being a bit too tidy in the end. The narrator is the ghost of David's recently deceased wife, Helena, who was a veterinarian and animal rights advocate. David is surrounded in their home by her vast collection of pets, from cats and do ...more
Cheryl
Nov 16, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. If you are a fan of The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is a book for you. It made me laugh and cry...and sob. I fell in love with almost all of the characters and was quickly drawn in.The story. follows David, an attorney who is trying to deal with his devastation over the loss of his wife, Helena, to breast cancer and to navigate a new and unfamiliar world without her. Add to this weight, the menagerie of animals Helena has brought into their lives through her work as a veteri ...more
Mark
Oct 09, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing
What does it really mean to "communicate"? Do animals have "rights"? Can really intelligent ones be considered conscious beings? Author Neil Abramson takes these ideas and many more as the basis for this beautiful story.
Helena Colden, a veterinarian who lives in a rural area with her lawyer husband David not all that far from New York City, is the story's narrator. I don't want to say too much, but this book is, among other things, very spiritual. The way Mr. Abramson sets up and lets the story
...more
Antonia
I don't know if you've ever read a book that has made you change the way you look at the world, or what you see when you open your inner eyes to the world, but I think that for me this book really was a life-changing experience. A true masterpiece, with stardust and pure wisdom all over it.

I won't say anything about the plot, because I want to leave it raw and unexplored for your eyes and your hearts. Saying something about how things eventually turned out and how the characters felt or evolved
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Donna
Nov 11, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Unsaid by Neil AbramsonThis was an endearing little story, and even more so if you are an animal lover.

This started out as 3 stars, but the thing that edged it up to 4 was the ease that each of the characters had about them. They all felt like they belonged there and they weren't just an instrument to propel the story. It all felt natural. The author paid attention to the emotional detail of each. And the dialog was funny in parts, which is always a plus for me, because I usually don't go for books like this. But I
...more
Dale Harcombe
May 13, 2016 Dale Harcombe rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars. Unsaid is a poignant and haunting read. In the hands of a less skilful author this could have denigrated into blatant propaganda for animal rights. That it did not is due to the multi layered story of David, an attorney devastated by the loss of Helena his veterinarian wife who recently died of breast cancer, Joshua a vet trying to escape his own guilt for actions in his past and Jaycee a scientist who has raised Cindy a chimpanzee who she claims has the capacity for thoug ...more
Anne Broyles
Sep 17, 2011 Anne Broyles rated it really liked it
Without a doubt, the fact that one of my best friends died of cancer five days before this book arrived as one of my library orders, the reality that two other friends are probably in the end stages of their lives and the fact that I am a person who loves and appreciates animals influenced my feelings as I read UNSAID. So this tale narrated by Helena, a 37-year-old vet who has recently died really “got” me. Helena’s viewpoint allows us to watch parallel stories unfold (a technique she uses towar ...more
librarianh20
Jan 22, 2012 librarianh20 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-12-lariat
Complete boo-hoo festival. If animal-related tragedy makes you cry, shake your head vigorously if someone tries to offer you this book and if that doesn't work, kick them in the shins and run away.

That being said, I was touched by the book's insights into death and grieving, and I'll be pondering what it means to lose a pet for sometime to come. My cats are aging and I've started thinking a lot about what it will be like when they pass and how I will handle it.

David Colden-- NY lawyer, recent wi
...more
Jennifer Probst
Feb 08, 2015 Jennifer Probst rated it it was amazing
This book made such an impression on me, I was so moved I emailed the author to tell him how much I loved it. A must read for animal lovers.
Patricia
Sep 01, 2011 Patricia rated it liked it
A lot of words were left UNSAID in this novel about human and non human person relationships. It was not just the chimpanzee who could not speak her words, but all the characters who had difficulty "saying the words" that could be understood by the listener ... the husband, his deceased wife (who told the story) the asperger's child,Cliffford, the dog, Skippy, the horse Arthur ... The allegories were very interesting and sometimes intense.

The story was lovely and I enjoyed reading and living wit
...more
Lesley
Sep 14, 2012 Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, animal
When done with this book I had to go hug my two furkids! A very strong argument on the power of our relationships with animals are. Its part love story, animal rights, legal drama, and forgiveness! At times emotional!
Carol
Aug 18, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written, heartbreaking novel. This was a difficult read for me having lost the love of my life and putting down eight cats in my lifetime, but I found I could not put the book down. A must read!
Diane S ☔
Sep 16, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
3.5 Loved the writing, the storyline was a little repetitive at the end, but all in all a must read for pet lovers. Ethical debate on the treatment of animals, but endearing and humorous too.
Robert Blumenthal
Sep 23, 2014 Robert Blumenthal rated it really liked it
I will start this review with full disclosure. My name is Bob, and I am an animal rights activist (or at least have profound sympathy with those who are). I am a member of PETA, the Humane Society, the American Society for the Protection of Animals, amongst others. I have always loved animals and feel their mistreatment is a travesty on our better nature. I am convinced that this helped me tremendously in liking this novel as much as I did. I was written by someone who has been active in animal ...more
Becky Loader
Jan 21, 2014 Becky Loader rated it really liked it
What a beautifully-written book!

Helena, the narrator, is deceased and is observing the life she left behind to help her understand what meaning it all had. Helena was a veterinarian married to David,a lawyer, and she had amazing relationships with a herd of misfit animals who contributed to her life. Early in her academic career, Helena became involved with primate research, and the friend and colleague she worked with became an important part of her work life. She eventually meets Cindy, a chi
...more
Kayeb
Dec 19, 2011 Kayeb rated it it was amazing
not a mystery......! however, it captured me. NOT just how we relate with animals, but with one another, touches on loss and mystery of interactions.


UNSAID is told from the perspective of Helena Colden, a veterinarian who has just died of breast cancer. Helena is forced to witness the rapid emotional deterioration of her husband David. With Helena's passing, David, a successful Manhattan attorney, loses the only connection that made his life full. He tries to carry on the life that Helena had c
...more
Julie
Nov 30, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I you've ever lost someone (human or pet), this is a wonderful book taking a look at how the people and pets left behind deal with their loss. The book is mainly narrated by a woman who was a veterinarian that dies from losing her battle with breast cancer. Her spirit is still around the house where her husband who is a New York City attorney copes with her death and has their plethora of pets to take care of. It also gives insight as to what the animals are feeling with the l ...more
Eva Leger
Jul 24, 2011 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing
I should be punished for waiting so long to review this. I read this in early or mid June and I had no business waiting until now to write about it. The upside is it's an unforgettable book so in the end it doesn't matter.
I loved Unsaid. I think it's hands-down one of the best books I've ever read. The subject matter is important to me which may have helped my feelings along but Abramson can write.
It's rare that characters come to life for me like they did here. I could have gone on reading two
...more
Rebecca Holland
Jun 23, 2012 Rebecca Holland rated it it was amazing
Neal Abramson's Unsaid, published by Center Street, ISBN 978-1-59995-409-7, first captured my attention by the cover - it is simple, black and has a dog on the front.

And then I read that Garth Stein, one of my favorite authors, recommended the book.

Upon opening the book, and getting a whiff of the newsprint - something that only a lover of all things written would understand - I was immediately transferred to the location where this novel began. And very seldom does that happen - it has to be a
...more
Erin Shull
I loved the beginning of this book. I am a huge animal lover and spent most of my childhood wanting to be a veterinarian, so the premise of this book really appealed to me. Helena, a 37 year old veterinarian, has passed away from breast cancer. It is her spirit (ghost?) that narrates this story, which is about the grieving process her husband, David, goes through, aided by his connection to her many pets she has left behind (a pig, 2 horses, 6 cats and 3 dogs). Added to the story are Sally (a yo ...more
Stephanie
Aug 30, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Garth Stein...author of The Art of Racing in the Rain...one of my all time FAVORITE books...is quoted on the cover of THIS book, "An extraordinary story of animals, mortality, and the power of love. Everyone needs to read this novel!" I couldn't have said it better myself.

This evening found me sitting in an almost pitch black room, my dog sleeping by my side, crying my eyes out as I finished this book. If you have ever had the privilege to love and be loved by an animal, this book will speak to
...more
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Gaston Library: Unsaid 1 6 Aug 18, 2015 01:26PM  
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Neil Abramson is a partner in a Manhattan law firm, and his wife is a veterinarian. Abramson is also a past board member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an award recipient from the ASPCA for his legal work on behalf of animals, and a founding member of the New York City Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Relating to Animals.

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“Pain explains a great deal of human conduct, but the fear of pain even more.” 15 likes
“Sometimes events that lead us bereft of anything but grief just happen for no reason other than happenstance--a car turns left instead of right, a train is missed, a call comes too late--and the real test of our humanness is whether, in light of that knowledge, we are ever able to recover. When we again find our way despite the inability to manufacture a deeper meaning in our suffering, that I think is when God smiles upon us, proud of the strength of his creation.” 13 likes
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