Unsaid
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Unsaid

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  3,203 ratings  ·  806 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, 368 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
Jade Eby
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...more
Michele Harrod
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
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
Cynthia
"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
Julie H.
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
Susan
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
☮Karen
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
Megan Jones
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
Kayeb
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
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
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
Anne Broyles
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
Rebecca Holland
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
Dawn
I loved this book. I must have cried at least five times as the story progressed. If that happens to me, the person who doesn’t believe in afterlife, etc., I can only imagine the reaction of caring people who believe in heaven and redemption. OMG, so to speak, they (you) will love Unsaid.

Reading this book, I remembered when I was a child and touched the soft hand of a chimpanzee. I understood the connection Helena felt, when she was alive and touched the hand of a chimpanzee for the first time....more
Patricia
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
Tara Chevrestt
Nov 04, 2010 Tara Chevrestt rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Susan, Summer, Chrissie, Dog and Animal Lovers
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has loved a pet or felt strongly about animal rights. Fans of John Grisham and legal thrillers will also enjoy it.

It was amazing and beautiful. Full review here: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2010/...
Becky Loader
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
Cheryl
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 into 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 veter...more
Mark
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
Amy
I really enjoyed this book and highlighted many thought provoking quotes that resonated strongly with me. Highly recommend to all animal lovers. Author did a fabulous job of writing from the perspective of Helena.

"I wanted David to feel connected and be in the moment when he was with us instead of distracted by what he'd just left or where he needed to go next." p. 26 - A LESSON WE ALL NEED TO HEED!

"Perhaps that is was the problem - real actions have tangible, measurable consequences that can be...more
Leslie
I had a client give me a copy of this book and I read it, cover-to-cover, in two nights. I loved it. Let me preface with the fact that I am a small animal veterinarian, I spend much of my career consuling clients on how to "make that decision" and speaking, as best as I can, for those in my care. I have long thought that I am here to speak for the animals, and hopefully offer some improvement in our inter-species communications. We are all far to similar, and it always surprises me when people d...more
Julie Dargis
The version of "Unsaid" that I read had a picture of a dog on the cover that drew me in. And, although I am not an animal person, I bought the book. As a result of reading the book, I now understand how "man's best friend," and other animals, can positively impact our lives.

The story is told from the perspective of the deceased wife of a lawyer. After a battle with cancer, she left her husband and a hobby farm of animals behind. Unable to cross over, she fears that her husband will not be able t...more
librarianh20
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
Stephanie
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
Peacegal
Consider the novel Unsaid as the literary bookend to the summer hit movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Like “Apes,” Unsaid is a surprisingly deep exploration of our obligations to animals, speciesism, and the increasingly shaky boundary between human and other-than-human life. For those of us interested in animal protection, it is extremely heartening to find these themes are becoming an increasing part of mainstream media and the national discourse.

I learned about Unsaid through a review o...more
Nancy Brady
This a novel that questions what it means to be human and what the relationship is between animals and humans. Narrated by Helena, a deceased veterinarian, she follows her friends, husband, and her pets as they grapple with these issues and how we are connected. And that love and relationships linger beyond death as evidenced by the changes seen in all the characters including the animals. That communication is often unspoken and unsaid.
Tom
Sep 28, 2012 Tom rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Amy
Shelves: fiction
I picked this book up at the airport in Calgary expecting it be about the interaction dogs and humans, only to find that it is more about chimpanzees/horses/pigs and only a little bit about dogs and humans.

I found the premise shaky, but not without merit. It does convey the notion that communication is about much more than words and language. It also highlights that, though humans have the ability to speak, often, what we don't say has ramifications.

This book will be very popular with animal rig...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
It's very rare that a book reduces me to tears, but Unsaid had me reaching for the tissues as I read, curled up in the corner of my lounge. To be fair I was also recovering from a nasty illness and rather emotionally vulnerable, but even in hindsight the novel is a powerfully moving and beautiful piece of storytelling.
Helena Colden drifts around the life she has left behind after her death from breast cancer, unable to do anything except witness the grief of her husband, friends and beloved pets...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...more
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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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“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.” 11 likes
“Pain explains a great deal of human conduct, but the fear of pain even more.” 10 likes
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