Kathryn's Reviews > Unlikely Friendships : 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom

Unlikely Friendships  by Jennifer S. Holland
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Apr 16, 12

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bookshelves: nature-animals, photography
Read in February, 2012

3.5 STARS

I didn't read every one of the 47 stories in this book, but I did read many of them and skimmed over the rest.

I love the concept here. It is wonderful, inspiring, heart-warming and thought-provoking to see various species of animals (some of whom one would think would never be "friends"--such as a leopard and a cow!) find a mutually beneficial relationship. As an animal lover and a vegan, I personally believe that animals do have emotions and can experience friendship, so some of the stories in this book touched me deeply.

The stories of animals in the wild were especially interesting to me. It seemed more unusual, more "special", in some ways than, say, a pet iguana and a pet kitten becoming friends (though, of course, any friendship is still special--it just seems more unusual in the wild, vs. in someones home were the interaction are more encouraged and less spontaneous).

Unfortunately, I can't quite bring myself to bump this up to a four star book (even though the idea of animal friendships is a five-star one for me) because I didn't feel the storytelling here was anything fabulous and some of the stories felt a bit redundant. Some of the stories aren't really what I would consider "friendships" but more like chance encounters, and brief. The focus on pets vs. animals in the wild got a bit boring and in some cases it almost felt like I could have found more by just going to YouTube and searching for material. Some of the best stories, such as the one about the gorilla Koko and her kitten, or the baby hippo and the tortoise who became friends after the tsunami, have been reported better in other books( Koko's Kitten and Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship, for example). Too, some of the stories were just so sad! I had expected more of a feel-good read, so I kind of wish we did not have to read about the sad ends some of these animals met :-(

I do recommend this book with reservations. As I said, the concept is wonderful and there are some really touching, happy stories. However, overall the redundancy and the sad stories kept me from wanting to read every one of the 47 stories in their entirety.
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Reading Progress

02/21/2012 page 45
21.0% "some of these stories are very cute, sweet, touching. Others are not really "friendships" but more like chance encounters, brief, and not that interesting. Hope we get more of the former and less of the latter as the book progresses..."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Qt (new)

Qt I looked through this one at the store, and I too love the concept--but the stories I opened to were more of the sad or chance encounter type. Like you said, not the feel-good book I'd expected. :-/


Kathryn Qt wrote: "I looked through this one at the store, and I too love the concept--but the stories I opened to were more of the sad or chance encounter type. Like you said, not the feel-good book I'd expected. :-/"

Yes, alas.


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