Jessica's Reviews > Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin
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's review
Jan 19, 2009

really liked it
Read in January, 2009

I liked this book more than I expected. For a long time, I'd been reluctant to pick it up because I thought the premise was more or less, "I'm autistic so I'm halfway between 'normal' people and animals (every other species)." I'm sure I don't need to explain why that's offensive.

Instead, Dr. Grandin uses brain research, coupled with her experience as an autistic person, to try to explain how members of other species may experience the world.

If you can disregard the sweeping generalizations about "animals" (which range from clams to humans), Dr. Grandin has a lot to say. For starters, she points out that we don't treat other animals very well -- and she goes on to explain how treating members of other species as if they were human won't really rectify the situation. And some of the research she discusses is fascinating. I, for one, never knew that prairie dogs' language is so rich that it can be characterized in terms of nouns, verbs, and even adverbs.

Where I do take offense is that this book starts from the major premise that animal liberation is a pipe dream and that humans will continue to keep other species in captivity to serve our most trivial whims for time immemorial. The world Dr. Grandin envisions is one that's infinitely more humane than the one that exists now -- but I have hope that we can achieve even more.
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08/19 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-3 of 3) </span> <span class="smallText">(3 new)</span>

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message 1: by Kellyann (new) - added it

Kellyann This sounds fascinating!

Nora Why would it be offensive to be like an animal? I think its really cool. Sorry but i am autistic. I just think animals are other species. I understand others see this differently but i find it confusing.

I always thought the expressive acts like an animal is confusing. Even getting eaten seems less violent than what people do to each other. It's hard for me to view my species as kindly sometimes much less "humane".

Rachel just finished the book, so caught this slight error: prairie dogs' language uses nouns, verbs and adjectives (not adverbs)

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