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How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals

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National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals--her friends--who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green. Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and advent National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals--her friends--who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green. Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet's rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy's life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets. This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals--Sy's friends--and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.


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National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals--her friends--who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green. Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and advent National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals--her friends--who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green. Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet's rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy's life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets. This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals--Sy's friends--and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.

30 review for How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Traveling Sister :)

    The cover of this book is what caught my eye, what a beautiful illustration. There are whimsical drawings throughout the book and a wonderful gallery of photographs of Ms. Montgomery with some of her animal friends at the end of the book. I won’t go through all of the animals that are mentioned in the book but my favorite was Christopher Hogwood the pig and his very large personality. Even when he had grown huge and powerful he was a gentle pig. Sy describes the two preteen neighbor girls giving The cover of this book is what caught my eye, what a beautiful illustration. There are whimsical drawings throughout the book and a wonderful gallery of photographs of Ms. Montgomery with some of her animal friends at the end of the book. I won’t go through all of the animals that are mentioned in the book but my favorite was Christopher Hogwood the pig and his very large personality. Even when he had grown huge and powerful he was a gentle pig. Sy describes the two preteen neighbor girls giving him a spa treatment “We fetched warm buckets of soapy water . . . we added products created for horses to apply to his hooves to make them shine Grunting his contentment as he lay in his pool of soapy water, Christopher make clear he adored his spa “ Ms. Montgomery seems able to bond with all sorts of creature even a tarantula, I love animals but they have to be the furry kind. Although Ms. Montgomery would even argue that point as she describes the tarantula’s legs “Despite spiders reputations as dirty, nasty “bugs,” tarantulas are as immaculate as cats, carefully cleaning any dirt that falls on their bodies by meticulously drawing the hairs on their legs through the mouth, using their fangs like the teeth of a comb” Despite the whimsy of the illustrations there is genuine heartbreak here also. Ms. Montgomery describes the early years of her arranged living style with her partner, Howard, and her animals in such a loving way, however apparently her mother felt she was living so out of the sphere of what she considered “normal” that she disowned her. Along with the love of an animal, of course, comes the heartbreak when they pass away. It seems as deeply as she was in love with her animal friends she also suffered severe depression upon their passing. It sometimes took several years before she even considered added another pet/friend to the household. Because the author honestly tells us how deeply her depression was felt with even thoughts of harming herself I would suggest caution in giving this book to anyone under the age of perhaps 15? Of course that is my personal opinion, she is being honest with the reader but sometimes depression can be very hard to understand. I was very glad that I read this memoir as Ms. Montgomery certainly has lived a life worth remembering and sharing. I love the quote below that was in the author’s biography : “Go out into the world where your heart calls you. The blessings will come, I promise you that. I wish for you the insight to recognize the blessings as such, and sometimes it's hard. But you'll know it's a blessing if you are enriched and transformed by the experience. So be ready. There are great souls and teachers everywhere. It's your job to recognize them.” ― Sy Montgomery I received an ARC of this memoir from the publisher through Edelweiss

  2. 5 out of 5

    Enchantress debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister

    5 BIG HAPPY stars! If you wanna know how to be good creature, you can learn this from animals, like Sy did with 13 written about here. Such a good book! I must buy a copy. I enjoyed hearing about all 13 of her animal loves. My favorites were the dogs, Christopher Hogwood, the good pig, Octavia the Octopus, and the Clarabelle, the tarantula. So much to learn here and enjoy. "Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalis 5 BIG HAPPY stars! If you wanna know how to be good creature, you can learn this from animals, like Sy did with 13 written about here. Such a good book! I must buy a copy. I enjoyed hearing about all 13 of her animal loves. My favorites were the dogs, Christopher Hogwood, the good pig, Octavia the Octopus, and the Clarabelle, the tarantula. So much to learn here and enjoy. "Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery." ~(from the library book blurb) I have read one other book by Sy Montgomery. It was The Soul of an Octopus. I enjoyed it immensely. Now I want to read all of her books. At the end of the book she gives a list of 10 books she recommends to read that helped her on her journey. She writes with such a true heart. I feel like we would be very good friends. I also have a number of rescues that live with me. I learn daily from them and can relate to much of what she trys to relay in her book. I don't know where I would be without the animal friends of my life. I would not be who I am today. Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley and Sy Montgomery for a digital copy to read for review. I highly recommend it!

  3. 4 out of 5

    KC

    This is a fascinating look at one woman's journey with the animals she's met and loved throughout her life. The illustrations are captivating. I can't believe I cried over an octopus!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    What a treat. Having only previously listened to a part of The Soul of an Octopus’ audio before my library loan expired, I knew what Montgomery was about: Animals. Unique experiences. Love. This book made especially for young readers is wonderful. It chronicles the animals that taught Montgomery throughout her interesting life. Although there are a few of man’s best friend (dogs) count also emus, a tarantula, a pig, an octopus, and a weasel among others. With life lessons, gorgeous illustrations What a treat. Having only previously listened to a part of The Soul of an Octopus’ audio before my library loan expired, I knew what Montgomery was about: Animals. Unique experiences. Love. This book made especially for young readers is wonderful. It chronicles the animals that taught Montgomery throughout her interesting life. Although there are a few of man’s best friend (dogs) count also emus, a tarantula, a pig, an octopus, and a weasel among others. With life lessons, gorgeous illustrations and a note of sadness (if you’ve recently lost a pet bring Kleenex) Montgomery shows how animals can teach us valuable lessons even when you least expect it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Author Sy Montgomery’s childhood Scottish Terrier taught her to be tough and independent. Twelve more animals she has shared her life with, including an octopus and a tarantula, have each taught her something about life and herself. Sy truly understands and appreciates animals. This illustrated memoir is so charming and reminded me that to slow down and give my own fur babies extra cuddles is good for the soul, theirs and mine.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Squee!! Oh I do hope at least one of my libraries gets this promptly! Or maybe I'll have to buy it, though I really shouldn't.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Holmes

    I loved Soul of the Octopus and I was eager to read this book (thank you Edelweiss for the prepub copy.) I cried and laughed throughout; wanted to go on expeditions to see some of the animals; and marveled at Sy's wonderful supportive group of friends. As my cat meows constantly at me because I've shut him up in a room so he won't eat my muffin, I wonder if cats teach us to be a good creature. I'll have to pay more attention. This book -- like all good nonfiction -- makes you want to go learn mo I loved Soul of the Octopus and I was eager to read this book (thank you Edelweiss for the prepub copy.) I cried and laughed throughout; wanted to go on expeditions to see some of the animals; and marveled at Sy's wonderful supportive group of friends. As my cat meows constantly at me because I've shut him up in a room so he won't eat my muffin, I wonder if cats teach us to be a good creature. I'll have to pay more attention. This book -- like all good nonfiction -- makes you want to go learn more, read more, experience more. Thank you, Sy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Shoo

    This book was provided by Edelweiss in return for an honest review. Sy Montgomery's ability to humanize animals is incredible. I was reluctant to go with her as she learned a lesson from a tarantula, as I'm terrified of spiders, but even I was charmed by Clarabelle. But it was her later chapters on loss and love that really affected me. Her words on love multiplying and staying with us were poetic. She was even able to make a tentacled octopus, sucking hickeys into her skin humorous and lovable. I This book was provided by Edelweiss in return for an honest review. Sy Montgomery's ability to humanize animals is incredible. I was reluctant to go with her as she learned a lesson from a tarantula, as I'm terrified of spiders, but even I was charmed by Clarabelle. But it was her later chapters on loss and love that really affected me. Her words on love multiplying and staying with us were poetic. She was even able to make a tentacled octopus, sucking hickeys into her skin humorous and lovable. I've already pre-ordered my hard copy of this book. Montgomery's lessons are ones I plan to return to.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pam Cipkowski

    This book will draw you in immediately with its beautiful jacket illustration and the expressively adorable illustrations inside. And despite the fact that at the start of the book, Sy Montgomery seemed like she would be in a privileged friend circle with Anne Lamott and Geneen Roth (and I do like Anne Lamott), this book did grow on me and I ended up liking it a lot. It’s more of a treasury of cute and lighthearted vignettes, rather than a heavy-hitting, heartrending memoir. Montgomery’s tales o This book will draw you in immediately with its beautiful jacket illustration and the expressively adorable illustrations inside. And despite the fact that at the start of the book, Sy Montgomery seemed like she would be in a privileged friend circle with Anne Lamott and Geneen Roth (and I do like Anne Lamott), this book did grow on me and I ended up liking it a lot. It’s more of a treasury of cute and lighthearted vignettes, rather than a heavy-hitting, heartrending memoir. Montgomery’s tales of her relationships with different animals—some of them domestic pets, others wild creatures—will make you smile and maybe shed a tear or two. Animals teach us about ourselves and the world we share with them, and Montgomery’s light and heartfelt prose reminds us of that. You won’t be disappointed if you pick this one up.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    A sweet memoir of animals Sy Montgomery met or had in her life. A true animal lover she thinks nothing of getting close to large spiders, dogs, sea creatures, pigs, etc. Very enjoyable stories about thirteen animals.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    So sweet and sincere! The author’s love of all creatures, big and small, emanates from the pages. The illustrations are super charming; they make even Clarabelle the tarantula look cute and cuddly, which is appropriate as the author finds nearly all creatures lovable!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debbi

    The author is charming and above all, this is a book about her love for animals. The book did not move me as I expected. I'm not sure if it was because the observations were too simplistic or because the theme was under-developed. Each chapter tells a story of the author's interaction with an animal, the chapters end with a lesson Montgomery learned through her connection. It's not really a memoir there is no deep or complicated self-reflection. The book is likeable but seems like it could have The author is charming and above all, this is a book about her love for animals. The book did not move me as I expected. I'm not sure if it was because the observations were too simplistic or because the theme was under-developed. Each chapter tells a story of the author's interaction with an animal, the chapters end with a lesson Montgomery learned through her connection. It's not really a memoir there is no deep or complicated self-reflection. The book is likeable but seems like it could have been perfect if lightly edited to be a book for young readers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Gillman

    Simple. But charming AF.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I really liked the concept of the book, and the illustrations were lovely, but I felt that the execution could have been better. The prose did very little to capture my attention.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Received and ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Super sweet memoir about certain individual animals and the effect they've had on the author's life. Domestic, captive, and wild; everyday (dogs, pigs) and exotic (emu, tree kangaroos). If you're the kind of person who has had a special animal in your life, it's not a matter of if you should read this book but how much you'll cry reading it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    I love Sy Montgomery's big-hearted books about animals, particularly The Good, Good Pig. This "memoir in thirteen animals" is beautifully illustrated and bittersweet, reflecting on the healing power and enduring wonder of other animals. Montgomery's mother drank heavily and was emotionally and possibly physically abusive. Both of her parents disowned her when she married a Jewish man and refused to enter the military, as her father had done before her. The unconditional love of animal companions I love Sy Montgomery's big-hearted books about animals, particularly The Good, Good Pig. This "memoir in thirteen animals" is beautifully illustrated and bittersweet, reflecting on the healing power and enduring wonder of other animals. Montgomery's mother drank heavily and was emotionally and possibly physically abusive. Both of her parents disowned her when she married a Jewish man and refused to enter the military, as her father had done before her. The unconditional love of animal companions like Stella the border collie and Christopher Hogwood the pig stands in stark contrast with these toxic familial relationships, and Montgomery emphasizes the importance and resilience of relationships that we make instead of those we are born into, so interspecies friendship becomes a model for community and intimacy, even for human neighbors and friends. Montgomery also recognizes the strangeness of animal life, the dramatic difference of their sensory capacities and experiences of the world. She emphasizes this unknowability and beauty in chapters on spiders and octopuses. The thread uniting all of the anecdotes is loss. The brief lives of the animals we encounter remind us of our own finitude and riddle us with grief. Montgomery writes unshrinkingly of her own experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts. But she also uses animals as a spiritual model; her religious faith encompasses their spiritual life, and she emphasizes the sacredness of love that is predicated upon loss--as all love actually is. A beautiful and heartfelt, poignant and often melancholy book, and one that treats animals, not as creatures to be rescued by us, but as teachers who rescue us from our own solipsism and hubris. Physical proximity and touch play such a huge role in this book and remind us of our own needs and interdependence. I read the book aloud with my six-year-old daughter (skipping the chapter where Montgomery considers killing herself), and she was as moved and inspired as I was. Montgomery really captures the individual temperaments and physicality of each of the animals she features in a chapter. And her hushed and reverent experiences of field work in the bush--studying emus and tree kangaroos--are contagious. One of my favorite moments in the memoir is when she finally relinquishes her notebook to feel honored by her closeness with the emus as they sleep, listening closely to the ruffling of their feathers and their grooming, knowing that she is experiencing something that few others would get to approach in the wild.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I heard Sy Montgomery speak when her book Soul of an Octopus won the New England Book Award for Nonfiction. I had not yet read the book (and still have not, though the urgency with which it is crying out for my attention is becoming hard to ignore). I was struck, however, by her passion and respect for animal life. She spoke about the octopus with a regard that indicated a holy bond. I know I felt envious that she'd had the chance to look such a strange animal in the eye, touch it, and perceive I heard Sy Montgomery speak when her book Soul of an Octopus won the New England Book Award for Nonfiction. I had not yet read the book (and still have not, though the urgency with which it is crying out for my attention is becoming hard to ignore). I was struck, however, by her passion and respect for animal life. She spoke about the octopus with a regard that indicated a holy bond. I know I felt envious that she'd had the chance to look such a strange animal in the eye, touch it, and perceive a connection that moved her in a spiritual and intellectual way. In How to Be a Good Creature, Montgomery tells her own life story through her encounters with 13 animals that changed her heart and mind. Her wonder at the natural world and its creatures inspired awe in me, so much so that for a few minutes while I was reading the chapter on a tarantula named Clarabelle I almost could imagine allowing a hairy spider to crawl on me. Almost. That she looked to animals as varied as emus and invertebrates as teachers reminds me that curiosity and forming relationships (human and non-human) give birth to joy. The number of people to whom I want to give this simple and wise book exceeds my budget, alas.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Sherie

    Delightful. Humans and animals interact because animals can teach us so much about life, struggle, and survival. I got this book on Audio and the narrators voice was so soothing and yes- just as delightful as the book itself. If you are used to reading books with complex characters etc. this book about a woman's interaction with the animals is a refreshing break from your traditional reading list. Sy is a woman that clearly loves ALL animals more than I have ever loved anything, ever. Viewing yo Delightful. Humans and animals interact because animals can teach us so much about life, struggle, and survival. I got this book on Audio and the narrators voice was so soothing and yes- just as delightful as the book itself. If you are used to reading books with complex characters etc. this book about a woman's interaction with the animals is a refreshing break from your traditional reading list. Sy is a woman that clearly loves ALL animals more than I have ever loved anything, ever. Viewing your pets through her eyes will make you appreciate them so much more. The pig taught her to cherish family and that family can come in many ways, not just the ones you are given at birth. She talked about an Octopus who taught her diligence in getting the job done and sacrificial love. Did you know Octopus's play with legos? I didn't either until I read this book- one of the many sprinkled in factoids you will read. Sy opens up about battling depression and how adopting an abused dog helped her heal - because dogs are amazing! This book inspired me to watch the world around me closer and breathe in all its lessons. Get this book, go on a walk, and read it surrounded by nature you will feel so blessed to be alive and in the company of master teachers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

    How to Be a Good Creature calls itself "A Memoir in Thirteen Animals" and is fairly equally a memoir and about thirteen animals. It's the story of Sy Montgomery's life from her toddler years, told in the story of her childhood dog Molly, through the present. The author holds nothing back in terms of honesty about her love for these animals, the way they changed her perspective on these other animals that we share the planet with, and her own inability to deal with the loss of a couple of them wh How to Be a Good Creature calls itself "A Memoir in Thirteen Animals" and is fairly equally a memoir and about thirteen animals. It's the story of Sy Montgomery's life from her toddler years, told in the story of her childhood dog Molly, through the present. The author holds nothing back in terms of honesty about her love for these animals, the way they changed her perspective on these other animals that we share the planet with, and her own inability to deal with the loss of a couple of them who were part of her family (especially Christopher Hogwood the pig and Tess the border collie). Montgomery even admits to fighting depression as a result of these losses. The book is a very easy and quick read that provides insight into the beauty of animals that humans commonly think of as companions - especially four dogs - and animals that we usually don't, like a pig, an octopus, three emus, and a tarantula. Personally, I appreciated the author's insight into the worth and beauty of every one of these animals. This is a sweet little book that I'd recommend to both the converted and the curious alike. Favorite quote from this book: "This is the gift great souls leave us when they die. They enlarge our hearts," Too true!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emmy

    A sweet and tender memoir of a woman and the animals who touched her life. I have had Montgomery's book The Soul of an Octopus on my to-read list for a while now, so when the ARC of this title tumbled into my hands, I just had to read it! This book is super-engaging. From the start, you're completely drawn into the stories, and not only do we learn a lot about Montgomery's life, but we learn a lot about the wonderful animals who inspired her and helped her grow as a person. While a good chunk of t A sweet and tender memoir of a woman and the animals who touched her life. I have had Montgomery's book The Soul of an Octopus on my to-read list for a while now, so when the ARC of this title tumbled into my hands, I just had to read it! This book is super-engaging. From the start, you're completely drawn into the stories, and not only do we learn a lot about Montgomery's life, but we learn a lot about the wonderful animals who inspired her and helped her grow as a person. While a good chunk of the stories are about dogs, I loved that the author focused on animals we don't normally think of (or don't think highly of) such as spiders and octopuses. Some of the stories are going to be a little bit sad at times, so I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, but all in all, I thought this was a wonderful collection, and I can't wait to see what else Montgomery has to offer!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jolene Haack

    This book was recommended to me by world-famous reviewer, karen to satisfy the category "A Book About Nature" for 2018 read harder. I don't think she's even read it yet but had heard it was lovely. Spoilers. It is lovely. I went camping this weekend with my husband and best friends. I get anxious when I'm far from home. Well, I get anxious always. I worry I'll get sick. I worry I won't be able to sleep. I worry I'll have a panic attack in the woods. All of said worries just create the thing I'm wo This book was recommended to me by world-famous reviewer, karen to satisfy the category "A Book About Nature" for 2018 read harder. I don't think she's even read it yet but had heard it was lovely. Spoilers. It is lovely. I went camping this weekend with my husband and best friends. I get anxious when I'm far from home. Well, I get anxious always. I worry I'll get sick. I worry I won't be able to sleep. I worry I'll have a panic attack in the woods. All of said worries just create the thing I'm worried about, I know. But it's a vicious brain cycle that I have never learned how to control. So in the moments between freezing drizzle, and when I woke up at 3am too cold and uncomfortable to sleep, I cracked this open and bathed in it. It is emotionally vivid and honest. Vulnerability might as well be a theme. And it's deep love of the creatures in question made me cry. It soothed me when I needed soothing and made me feel closer to the nature I was surrounded by while I read. A truly wonderful book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I love Sy Montgomery. I've read most of her books (my favorite was The Soul of an Octopus) and this one is a nice culmination of much of what she has learned from her lifetime commitment to animals. I could relate to what she says about her childhood association with animals, rather than humans. I had a very similar experience growing up. But most of all I love her appreciation for the autonomy and uniqueness of every animal. They are as different and special as every human, deserving of the sam I love Sy Montgomery. I've read most of her books (my favorite was The Soul of an Octopus) and this one is a nice culmination of much of what she has learned from her lifetime commitment to animals. I could relate to what she says about her childhood association with animals, rather than humans. I had a very similar experience growing up. But most of all I love her appreciation for the autonomy and uniqueness of every animal. They are as different and special as every human, deserving of the same level of respect. I haven't read many authors who are as consistent in their portrayal of animals as sentient beings who exist for their own sake, not ours. If you care about animals, read Sy Montgomery.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Sy Montgomery's love of animals is emitted from every page of everything of hers I have read. She writes with wonder at all her encounters, which is the basis of this whole book. Beginning with her deep connection to her childhood dog, Molly, Sy discusses the animals that have impacted her life the most. I wanted to meet the 3 Emus about whom she developed a study, just so she could follow them around. I loved the moment she realized that Clarabelle the Tarantula is really just an animal like ev Sy Montgomery's love of animals is emitted from every page of everything of hers I have read. She writes with wonder at all her encounters, which is the basis of this whole book. Beginning with her deep connection to her childhood dog, Molly, Sy discusses the animals that have impacted her life the most. I wanted to meet the 3 Emus about whom she developed a study, just so she could follow them around. I loved the moment she realized that Clarabelle the Tarantula is really just an animal like everyone else. I wanted to meet Christopher Hogwood, her 750 lb pig and her super-smart Border Collies. Her writing is always a perfect selection for animal lovers, and I know I will recommend this one widely.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kimberlee

    I was provided a free, digital copy of this title by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. How to be a Good Creature is a memoir in which a woman tells how animals profoundly changed her life. The type of animal varies, but every story and background of each is heartwarming and you can really tell the author has a love for animals. I think this would have been a more enticing read for me had I known more about the author beforehand. As it was, I picked up this book because the cover is re I was provided a free, digital copy of this title by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. How to be a Good Creature is a memoir in which a woman tells how animals profoundly changed her life. The type of animal varies, but every story and background of each is heartwarming and you can really tell the author has a love for animals. I think this would have been a more enticing read for me had I known more about the author beforehand. As it was, I picked up this book because the cover is really appealing. I did enjoy what I read, though at times I felt it a bit overwritten and flowery. The illustrations is the book were adorable.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gerri

    Anyone who has ever loved an animal will love this book. I related so much with the author, Sy Montgomery, in her love for and curiosity about the animals in her life - and not just the ones that she lived with, also the ones that she encountered in her years as an author, naturalist and adventurer. While she still can't convince me about the upside of spiders, I now have an even greater curiosity about many other creatures. Sy captures so well how animals have unique personalities and how each t Anyone who has ever loved an animal will love this book. I related so much with the author, Sy Montgomery, in her love for and curiosity about the animals in her life - and not just the ones that she lived with, also the ones that she encountered in her years as an author, naturalist and adventurer. While she still can't convince me about the upside of spiders, I now have an even greater curiosity about many other creatures. Sy captures so well how animals have unique personalities and how each teaches us lessons on how to be a good creature, and simply put, lessons on being.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    Highly recommend this easy to read nonfiction book to anyone who has lived with animals in their home. Sy's experience writing science books and articles for both children and adults makes this a stronger book. She knows how to strip it down and make nonfiction accessible to all. Some of the chapters in this book are superb! I particularly loved reading about Molly, her beloved Scotty. This book has inspired me to read "The Good Good Pig". I look forward to learning more about this extraordinary Highly recommend this easy to read nonfiction book to anyone who has lived with animals in their home. Sy's experience writing science books and articles for both children and adults makes this a stronger book. She knows how to strip it down and make nonfiction accessible to all. Some of the chapters in this book are superb! I particularly loved reading about Molly, her beloved Scotty. This book has inspired me to read "The Good Good Pig". I look forward to learning more about this extraordinary pig.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Sy Montgomery is my kind of creature. I credit her for my love of octopuses, Kakapos, and Temple Grandin. Basically, if Sy Montgomery writes about it, I’m going to fall in love. Probably not everyone who reads How to Be a Good Creature will have to set it down to sob. (If that’s you, don’t miss Gary Paulsen’s My Life in Dog Years or any of Jon Katz’s memoirs.) Sy Montgomery is doing important work. If through her eyes, through her words, enough of us can all fall head-over-heels for the good cre Sy Montgomery is my kind of creature. I credit her for my love of octopuses, Kakapos, and Temple Grandin. Basically, if Sy Montgomery writes about it, I’m going to fall in love. Probably not everyone who reads How to Be a Good Creature will have to set it down to sob. (If that’s you, don’t miss Gary Paulsen’s My Life in Dog Years or any of Jon Katz’s memoirs.) Sy Montgomery is doing important work. If through her eyes, through her words, enough of us can all fall head-over-heels for the good creatures of this magical planet, maybe together we can be a force to stop its destruction.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    A hardback with an invitingly illustrated colorful paper dust jacket and deckle-edged pages, its looks were what enticed me to pick up this book. I love a good memoir, and the description of this one made it seem likely to speak into my life as it is right now: mourning the loss of a child to suicide, figuring out what my purpose is now and how to be the mom my surviving child needs. “It ... explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love A hardback with an invitingly illustrated colorful paper dust jacket and deckle-edged pages, its looks were what enticed me to pick up this book. I love a good memoir, and the description of this one made it seem likely to speak into my life as it is right now: mourning the loss of a child to suicide, figuring out what my purpose is now and how to be the mom my surviving child needs. “It ... explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.” This book was exactly what I hoped.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    Disclosure: Advanced Reader’s Copy received from EdelweissPlus in exchange for an honest review. "How to Be a Good Creature" is as much a memoir about the creatures that made the most significant impact in her life as it is about Sy Montgomery. Much of the book centers around the lives and deaths of Montgomery's pig, Chris, and her dog, Tess. However, you can really feel the connection she had with each creature she encounters as she describes their behaviors and eccentricities. A wonderful explo Disclosure: Advanced Reader’s Copy received from EdelweissPlus in exchange for an honest review. "How to Be a Good Creature" is as much a memoir about the creatures that made the most significant impact in her life as it is about Sy Montgomery. Much of the book centers around the lives and deaths of Montgomery's pig, Chris, and her dog, Tess. However, you can really feel the connection she had with each creature she encounters as she describes their behaviors and eccentricities. A wonderful exploration of love and loss with a variety of creatures, packaged in a quick read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lexi Nylander

    I deeply enjoyed this book. Parts of it were a little weird, but overall I enjoyed her writing endlessly and was so touched by how much she loved the animals that she met and interacted with as well as how much she learned from them. My favorite bits were the emus, the octopi, and her variety of dogs. I learned a lot of little facts about a variety of animals and "But this was an earthbound alien" made me laugh a lot. The bit about a lifetime dog hit me right where it hurts. Definitely would rec I deeply enjoyed this book. Parts of it were a little weird, but overall I enjoyed her writing endlessly and was so touched by how much she loved the animals that she met and interacted with as well as how much she learned from them. My favorite bits were the emus, the octopi, and her variety of dogs. I learned a lot of little facts about a variety of animals and "But this was an earthbound alien" made me laugh a lot. The bit about a lifetime dog hit me right where it hurts. Definitely would recommend for a quick but emotional and worthwhile read.

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