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Unsaid

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  6,658 ratings  ·  1,284 reviews
In this explosive debut novel, Neil Abramson explores the beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationships and the true meaning of communication in all of its diverse forms.
As a veterinarian, Helena was required to choose when to end the lives of the terminally ill animals in her care. Now that she has died, she is afraid to face them and finally admit to herself
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Paperback, 360 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Center Street (first published January 1st 2011)
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Lori Schiele The book is fiction simply because the characters are fictitious, not because the situation is. In fact, things like what happen in this book happen…moreThe book is fiction simply because the characters are fictitious, not because the situation is. In fact, things like what happen in this book happen around the country--around the world--every single day, mostly without anyone knowing the wiser. It is only because of people like Neil Abramson and coalitions of lawyers who are now fighting the courts to achieve "personhood" for specific animals: chimpanzees, elephants, whales... It has been successful in other countries and we hope, one day, the U.S. will catch up. (less)
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Showing 1-30
4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,658 ratings  ·  1,284 reviews


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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
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Carmen
Jan 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
I had to DNF this once the "magical autistic little boy who can communicate psychically with animals" showed up at 13%. Ugh.

This is about a woman who is dead and wanders around haunting/observing her bereft husband, pets, and colleagues. She was a vet and this book is very heavy into the ethics of animal testing and medical treatment etc. So it was already mopey, but then once an autistic little boy sneaks into an operating room and starts shouting "Grass grass grass!" while clutching a dying do
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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
Jade Eby
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Liz
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of these days I'll be able to read a sad animal boom without crying. But not this book. A real tearjerker. Very interesting concepts on communication, grief and love between the species and between ourselves.
Julie H.
Dec 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Cynthia
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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Melodie
I finished this book early this morning,like around 2am. And I spent the rest of the night processing what I read. I loved this book, but it broke my heart again and again.
Helena,a veterinarian married to a successful attorney has died from metastatic breast cancer. But haunted by the belief that her life was in large part meaningless, she is unable to move on. As she drifts along,she bears witness to her husband's struggle to heal and that effect on her beloved animals.
Along the way, she re
...more
Susan
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan Jones
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
☮Karen
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sara
This one is a book group read, not really my style of book. It wasn't bad, I read it quickly.

I felt this book was about loss and grief and the way people and animals deal with this in their lives. I did not pick up on the theme of the healing power of animals until I read other's comments on the book.

I liked the fact that the narrator has passed away. Books like that are interesting, giving an unusual insight.

Other than that, I don't have much more to comment on. And, no, I don't know the differ
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Diane S ☔
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Loved the writing, the storyline was a little repetitive at the end, but all in all a must read for pet lovers. Ethical debate on the treatment of animals, but endearing and humorous too.
Antonia
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Cheryl
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 in.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 veteri ...more
אבי בן-תקוה
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an animal lover, I really loved the story of this book. A story of mortality that will touch anyone who's ever lost a beloved member of their family (human or pet).

"The groundskeeper points to the cats and says something to Daniel in French. Daniel looks to Simon for translation.

"Philippe says that Gods countenance must have shined upon these dogs in life because now he sends his angels to watch over them in death""
Mark
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jennifer Probst
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made such an impression on me, I was so moved I emailed the author to tell him how much I loved it. A must read for animal lovers.
Dale Harcombe
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars. Unsaid is a poignant and haunting read. In the hands of a less skilful author this could have denigrated into blatant propaganda for animal rights. That it did not is due to the multi layered story of David, an attorney devastated by the loss of Helena his veterinarian wife who recently died of breast cancer, Joshua a vet trying to escape his own guilt for actions in his past and Jaycee a scientist who has raised Cindy a chimpanzee who she claims has the capacity for thoug ...more
Eva Leger
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ann
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Donna
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Unsaid by Neil AbramsonThis was an endearing little story, and even more so if you are an animal lover.

This started out as 3 stars, but the thing that edged it up to 4 was the ease that each of the characters had about them. They all felt like they belonged there and they weren't just an instrument to propel the story. It all felt natural. The author paid attention to the emotional detail of each. And the dialog was funny in parts, which is always a plus for me, because I usually don't go for books like this. But I
...more
Kate
3.5*
I thought this had a great premise, a newly deceased vet, Helena, watches over her lawyer husband David, friends and pets whilst they cope with their loss. Helena's friend, J.C, asks David to take on a case involving a chimpanzee used for research, Cindy. Cindy can sign and J.C wants her recognised as a non human person and not put back into the pool of chimps used for research where she will most likely die. A difficult case and one where David learns a few home truths about his wife, frien
...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
Jessica
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this made me ugly cry.

ugly crying photo: crying zoeeysobbing_zpsd23c8942.gif

It was a great read with focus on issues that we don't hear about NEARLY enough (animal testing). Without giving anything away, it was not a happily ever after book by any means, but did sum things up as nice as can be while making you ugly cry. I know that description doesn't make much sense, but whatever, just read it. ;)
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
Lesley
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animal, favorites
When done with this book I had to go hug my two furkids! A very strong argument on the power of our relationships with animals are. Its part love story, animal rights, legal drama, and forgiveness! At times emotional!
Carol
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written, heartbreaking novel. This was a difficult read for me having lost the love of my life and putting down eight cats in my lifetime, but I found I could not put the book down. A must read!
Mary
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a way, this book should have had the word atonement in the title since the story revolves around life, death and getting things right or merely getting things on the right path in order to resolve all those ethical questions that occur in everyone. Helena has just died from cancer and returns to her home and life as a veterinarian to check up on her husband, friends and animals. She finds her lawyer-husband David overwrought and not coping very well with the loss. Helena took in strays of all ...more
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Gaston Library: Unsaid 1 11 Aug 18, 2015 01:26PM  

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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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“Pain explains a great deal of human conduct, but the fear of pain even more.” 14 likes
“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.” 12 likes
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