Tuesday, August 28, 2012

{read: animal rights} Unsaid by Neil Abramson

I was drawn into this story of a husband who struggles to deal with the death of his wife from breast cancer while he cares for her three dogs, two horses, one pig, and many cats. Yet as if that legacy of her love of animals and career as a vet weren't enough, David is approached by one of her former colleagues because he's an attorney. He finds out, belatedly, that his wife, Helena, had been working with Cindy, a chimp who knows sign language. But now Cindy's life is in danger when the grant that funded the work with her is terminated and she could be thrown back into the general population, where chimps are infected with diseases, given surgical procedures without pain meds, and other horrific things — all in the name of medical research.

The book is told by Helena, who can't move on because she's haunted by all the animals she's euthanized. She feels like her life was worth nothing, but perhaps David can change that if he takes this case and saves Cindy.

This was a gripping story and a reminder of the terrible price that innocent animals are paying in the name of medical research. Helena and David are three-dimensional characters who struggle with how to go forward after tragedy strikes. Although there are sad parts throughout this book, there is also a vein of hope.

Unsaid by Neil Abramson (Center Street, 2011)
My rating: 4 stars

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