This lovely, wise book is illustrated with black and white paintings that are childlike in their simplicity—the big eyes of the border collie, the smile of the pig—making this appear to be a book for children. It could be. But it could also be a book for anyone who has ever been entranced by another living creature. (Border collie lovers, beware: You will need Kleenex. Everyone else should be OK.)
If you’re a slob, you’re a pig. If you’re sneaky, you’re a weasel. Cowards are chickens, and followers are sheep or lemmings. If you give bad loans, you’re a shark. If you’re fat, you’re a cow, or maybe a whale. If you’re lazy, you’re a sloth. Crazy folks are batty; people who talk shit are catty. Villains are snakes, women are bitches, and the lowest of low are dogs ... In the English language, at least, being compared to an animal is rarely a compliment ... In fact, comparing people to animals isn’t just unflattering, but dangerous. According to Genocide Watch, equating members of an ethnic group with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases is the third stage of genocide...During the Holocaust, Jews were called rats; during the Rwandan genocide, Tutsis were called cockroaches. This made them easier to kill: They weren’t humans. They were animals. They were less ... In Montgomery’s new book How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals, (Montgomery) focuses her observant eye on her own life and the creatures that shaped her ... In her memoir, Montgomery argues the point that not only should being compared to an animal be taken as a compliment, but we should be humbled in the presence of our fellow creatures. We have so much to learn from them.
Ever since her parents gave her a Scottie puppy, the author’s fascination with the animal world has been insuppressible, and she made that obsession into a career writing about animals in more than 20 books ... Here, the author looks at 13 of the most important animals in her life and how they changed her. There’s the aforementioned Scottie, Molly, and three other beloved dogs, but there’s also a pack of emus, a tarantula, and an octopus named Octavia ... The National Geographic channel meets memoir in this brief, compelling examination of what animals can teach us about ourselves.