karen's Reviews > The God of Animals

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
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's review
Jul 18, 13

bookshelves: it-is-for-class, favorites, grit-lit

despite its bold, college-sports-team cover colors, i would probably never have picked this book up if i hadn't needed to read a recent spur-award-winner for my beloved readers' advisory class. but, dammit, if it wasn't the most enjoyable thing i have read in a while. and i know that lately i have been slapping a ton of reviews up here, and y'all are sick of my stupid opinions, but heed me one more time: this book is crazy-good. greg, fonso, mfso - feel free to ignore me here, but ladies, come a little closer. it's not a girlie book, but it really captures something about that teetery place between (see, greg: "tween") child- and womanhood. i have no idea how something like this wins a spur award and cormac mccarthy doesn't - to me he is the embodiment of tough men, stinky boots, and scalping violence. but it does take place in colorado, which is west of where i am, so who am i to argue?

this is a book that remembers how to tell a story, without complicating the process. its depth is in its simplicity, if you follow. the story is not revolutionary,(girl, horses, death, lies, fantasy world, teacher crush, economic disparity, eloped sister, first kiss, depressed mother, adultery, secrets secrets secrets, and life's disappointments including the ways a marriage can come apart) but it is told very well. the clear voice of the narrator and her eventual disillusionment and realizations is uncanny and a perfect crystallization of how it feels to be a girl on the cusp of puberty, with all of its aggression and violent impulses and unsure footing, cruelty and tenderness, the conflict, the decisions one makes to become the woman you become; particularly here, where the traditional role models are damaged, absent, or financially impossible. and the foal-weaning passages were heartbreaking and unexpected. oh, man.

i loved this character. i loved her in all of her moods: confessional, spiteful, hopeful, lonely, guilty, triumphant. i loved the pacing, as her fantasy safety net crumbles and the truth comes out in tiny pieces and life's tarnish is revealed. it would also be acceptable for a YA audience, one that had also enjoyed to kill a mockingbird. and it makes me want to tell you to read what's eating gilbert grape, because the book is so so good.

all in all, a perfect story, perfectly told. now, go. i will try to hold off reviewing for a while.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 53) (53 new)

Dana Maybe you should listen to me once in a while when I say a book is good. :)

karen this is twice now! but i'm not reading gay pirates.

Dana contrary to popular belief, I do read books that have nothing to do with gay pirates.

all these years, and you've only read 2 books on my recommendation? i feel so unappreciated!

Dana oh, and might I add, you are the one responsible for the gay pirates in the first place!

karen really? i thought you found brethren all on your own.

don't feel unappreciated - you see how many books i buy - i can't take on too many recommendations or i will explode.

i watch all the netflix you order me to watch, does that count?

message 6: by Dana (last edited Mar 25, 2010 10:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana you gave me brethren for christmas in the giant bag of gay.

I think I stopped recommending movies to you. we never agree. so I guess it makes sense that you don't read my book recommendations!

Dana I take it back -- you did just watch Lady Jane. But I only mentioned that one to you since you were interested in the topic... And you didn't like it. So.

karen but i listened and i watched them!! i have bad taste in movies, everyone knows that.

message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 26, 2010 06:53AM) (new)

i love when people review and love books that i happen to have somewhere in my office or apartment! it makes me feel that much closer to actually reading said book, even though it still has to wait toward the back of the line behind its other, more desirable, book friends.

message 10: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine I know being a lady this review was suppose to make me read this book, but I think the book now sounds less appealing. I don't like tweens or coming of age.

karen i really liked it, it's not all wide-eyed coming of age - it has some awful things in it too. ariel - read it!!

message 12: by Angel (new) - added it

Angel Jenkins sounds good, i am gonna have to check it out :D Thanks

message 13: by Cynthia (new) - added it

Cynthia Added it. Thanks, Karen.

karen she has a book of short stories coming out in april, i think. i'm definitely going to have to check it out.

message 15: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Dana is Greg?

karen um?? dana is dana and greg is greg. they are not conjoined.

message 17: by Stephen (new)

Stephen You and Dana interact identical to you and Greg. Dana has an utterly private profile. That! my dear Watson, is my reasoning for identicality.

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

gay pirates? where?

message 19: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana private no more.
thank god i am not greg. then i would have to watch indecipherable foreign films and write really long reviews on goodreads(dot com -- that's for you karen).

message 20: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Oh! You do have an identity. Woodside, NY. You are all companions in some odd menage of some kind, I guess...um...

karen ariel - check out her m/m shelf!! brethren and 2 sequels!! and more to come (twss)!! dana loves the gay!

message 22: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 27, 2010 05:03PM) (new)

that is some shelf you've got there, dana.

i love that there is, somewhere in the world, a book called Mind Fuck.

message 23: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana mind fuck is pretty darn awesome (as well as all its sequels).

karen recommended that to me actually. thanks karen!

message 24: by Stephen (new)

Stephen That's so Karen Frenchy

message 25: by Greg (new)

Greg I have never been accused of being Dana before. She is her own person, and she has read many more books about gay pirates than I have. But we both do live in the same neighborhood in Queens.

Dana, with Ariel's interest in gay pirates there is something more too the google statistic that New York City is the most the most popular place in the world for searchs about gay pirates. Ariel, I'm sorry if I just publicly outed your google searching.

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

i had no idea i was doing anything that could possibly help set a world record. wow.

kinda beautiful, you know? how the smallest of actions can affect something so large?

karen yay!! i liked mind fuck, too! i can send you a copy if you want.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

karen, your mind fuck review is glorious.

message 29: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen Dana wrote: "private no more.
thank god i am not greg. then i would have to watch indecipherable foreign films and write really long reviews on goodreads(dot com -- that's for you karen)."

Wait. I think this means that I'm Greg.

message 30: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen Greg, have you seen:
Shower? The Color of Paradise? Do des kadan (I have no idea how to spell that)?
Malena? Tsotsi?

I liked those (don't gag). Any recommendations for me? But not Bicycle Thief. God, I hated that one.

karen greg did not like tsotsi. he said "eh".

i can recommend good foreign fillums to you, greg will make you watch boring ones full of a young girl's blossoming sexuality. and mules.

thanks, ariel!! i hope you like the book!

message 32: by Greg (new)

Greg Jen, I have only seen Tsotsi out of those and that one as Karen said I was, eh about. The 'mule' one, Au hasard Balthazar, I stand behind, and would recommend, although maybe it is just a personal thing that I liked it. By the same director I also really like Mouchette.

If David was here he would probably tell me why both of these aren't worth recommending though.

Persona, Fitzcarraldo, Red, Blue, (White just to watch the trilogy in order but I didn't like that one so much), just about anything by Kurosawa.....

I'll stop there, Karen can now comment about how awful most of these are.

message 33: by Stephen (new)

Stephen What's happened to David?

message 34: by Greg (new)

Greg He's on a goodreads hiatus.

message 35: by Dave (last edited Mar 27, 2010 07:25PM) (new)

Dave Russell Jen, did you mean Dodeskadan by Kurosawa? A bunch of Japanese people in a junkyard?

Also, don't watch Fitzcarraldo. Watch Burden of Dreams a documentary about the making of it. It's much better.

Also, David gave Showgirls 4 stars.

message 36: by Greg (new)

Greg Jen if you listen to Dave, then you should replace Aguirre, the Wrath of God, for Fitzcarraldo, and if you enjoy Burden of Dreams then you should also watch the documentary My Best Fiend about the tenuous relationship between Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski.

But, maybe you don't need to watch anything with Kinski, and I'm only recommending him because I'm watching really awful horror movie called the Bloody Dead from the 60's where he plays multiple parts.

karen please watch head on. no one will watch it although i try and try. because i like such bad movies, no one will trust me. it is one of my favorites. even greg liked it.

mouchette: barf.

karen david is actually here in nyc during his hiatus and he spent a good portion of last night telling me i was wrong every time we were talking about movies. i am not wrong, though.

message 39: by Stephen (new)

Stephen okay

message 40: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen Dave wrote: "Jen, did you mean Dodeskadan by Kurosawa? A bunch of Japanese people in a junkyard?

Also, don't watch Fitzcarraldo. Watch Burden of Dreams a documentary about the making of it. It's much better..."

Yes! That one. I loved that one-saw it in high school about the same time I started watching Prime Suspect.

Karen, I'm sure David would tell me my tastes are no good too. I think all David and I have in common is a love for Mystery Science Theater 3000.

message 41: by Stephen (new)

Stephen David has high cinematic standards.

message 42: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine karen wrote: "david is actually here in nyc during his hiatus and he spent a good portion of last night telling me i was wrong every time we were talking about movies. i am not wrong, though."

connor tells me that a lot, I am fairly sure he is right.

And I promise Dana and Greg are not the same. Dana is republican and probably would not listen to me complain about how much deleuze confuses me.

message 43: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen I liked Run Lola Run. And Italian for Beginners. Are those bad?

Greg and Dave and karen can boss me around my netflix anytime. I put head on in the line up.

And if any of you figure out what makes The Myth of Fingerprints a good movie, please let me know. Also, jamon jamon.

message 44: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Pffft

karen i am sick and lazy and trying to drum up interest in old books

message 46: by Sian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sian Lile-Pastore i read this book because of you.

karen really?? oh, that makes me so happy!

message 48: by Sian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sian Lile-Pastore ha! yes! i just do what you say pretty much...

karen oooh.... the power.....

message 50: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony Syracuse colors, I'm pretty sure:)

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