Ellen's Reviews > Before You Know Kindness

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
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's review
Jan 24, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in March, 2010 , read count: 1

This book focuses on an extended family dealing with the aftermath of a tragic accident involving a rifle. The man who is shot, Spencer, is an animal rights activist whose dedication to his job and inflexibility regarding his vegan lifestyle are starting to wear on his wife and teenage daughter. Also involved in the story are Spencer's wife's brother and his family, who have their own problems to sort through. I enjoyed reading about the families' different ways of dealing with the tragedy and watching Spencer relax his hardline stance after his injury. I did feel that the animal rights activists portrayed in the book were dealt with a bit unfairly.

I suppose that Bohjalian was trying to focus on extremists rather than those with more moderate views. But as a vegetarian who avoids wearing leather, I found it a bit annoying how often he mentioned that non-leather items were unattractive or clunky. In almost any shoe store you can find many styles of non-leather shoes, and it can be quite difficult to tell which are real and which are fake without feeling or smelling the shoes. So seriously, come on. Also, the several mentions of how animal rights activist characters found themselves more sympathetic to animals than to human beings grated, too. Actually, I think that some extreme animal rights activists probably do feel that way, but I also think it's unlikely that even the most extreme animal activist cares more for animals than for his or her own family members.

I enjoyed discussing the book with Mom's book group at the Lynchburg Public Library in March. Wish I could discuss more books that I read!
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06/13 marked as: read

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

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Candice I hope that it gets there soon and that you like it as much as I did!

Candice We enjoyed having you there, too! Wish you could visit us more often.

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