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About Our Reviewers

Ruta Arellano – Ruta received her B.A. from the University of California, the one in Berkeley.   She served as the Associate Director of the California Self-Esteem Task Force and later worked as a research specialist with multiple state agencies.   She tends to read and review crime mysteries, popular fiction, survey books, books on art and interior design, business books and those books that are hard to classify.   Ruta also writes reviews for the New York Journal of Books, Sacramento Book Review and San Francisco Book Review.

Joseph Arellano – Joseph received his B.A. in Communication Arts from the University of the Pacific, where he wrote music and entertainment reviews for The Pacifican and the campus radio station, KUOP-FM.   He then received his J.D. (law degree) from the University of Southern California, which is why he’s pretty good at writing legal disclaimers.   He has served as a Public Information Officer for a state agency, which involved a lot of writing and editing work under heavy pressure and deadlines, and he was an adjunct professor at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS).   Joseph has done pre-publication editing and review work for a publisher based in England.   He also writes – or has written – reviews for New York Journal of Books, Sacramento Book Review, San Francisco Book Review, Portland Book Review and Tulsa Book Review.

Munchy – Munchy is a senior Norwegian Forest Cat of the brown tabby variety.   He only writes reviews of children’s books and only when he absolutely feels like it.   (His children’s book reviews have appeared in San Francisco Book Review and Sacramento Book Review.)   He intends to become the furry Publisher and Chief Feline Officer (CFO) of Brown Cat Books.

Dave Moyer – Dave is the author of the novel Life and Life Only and of several published short stories and essays.   He regularly reviews books for this site and for the New York Journal of Books.   Moyer is a former college baseball coach.   A music lover and Bob Dylan junkie, Moyer has played drums in various ensembles over the years (but not with the Rolling Stones).   He majored in English at the University of Wisconsin and earned a doctorate from Northern Illinois University.   Moyer is a school superintendent in Southeastern Wisconsin and is an instructor for Aurora University.   He currently resides in the greater Chicago area.

Kimberly Caldwell – Kimberly is a freelance writer and editor in Connecticut.   She earned a B.A. in Journalism and Business at Lehigh University, and earned her chops as a reporter and copy editor at a daily newspaper, an editor of electronic display industry news, neurology studies and romance novels, and as the general manager of an independent fine-dining restaurant.

Kelly Monson – Kelly is a former school principal and special education teacher who earned her Doctorate, Educational Specialist Degree, Master’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Illinois University and a second Master’s in Educational Leadership from Aurora University.   She is an avid reader and writer and travels extensively (with and without her three children).   She currently resides in the greater Chicago area.

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Animal Crackers in My Soup: Tell Me Where It Hurts

The complete title of this book is Tell Me Where It Hurts:  A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon.   This is about as long as the book itself, which is an easy and fast read.   Such is the good news.   The bad news is that, well, there’s not a lot here…

This is supposed to be a chronicle of a single day in a large animal hospital, but that’s just the pretense.   It’s immediately clear that the book is filled with the stories of animal and panicked owner interactions that occurred months and years earlier.   So why pretend that it’s about “24 hours in a pet hospital”?

The stories are more anecdotes than detailed stories, and often relate to how Dr. Trout assisted some poor young (in experience if not actual years) and confused resident.   There’s not enough detail to create real tension, which makes the reader wonder why this book has been sold as an animal-world version of the television show House?   Perhaps it is because Dr.  Trout appears to be a man of ego.

Another concern is that although it is a Target Bookmarked Breakout selection, there is more than a bit of sexism in how the good Dr. relates to women.   Was this supposed to be humorous or sarcastic or something else?

Instead of spending $14.00 or so for this collection of quick hit-and-miss tales, I’d advise animal lovers to instead consider ordering a classic that was written by a veterinarian back in 1980.   That book is All My Patients Are Under the Bed by the late Dr. Louis J. Camuti, which is full of charming tales and in which the doctor’s love for his feline patients was absolutely and completely transparent.   As a sign of the relevance of All My Patients… it is currently available as a trade paperback (Fireside, $14.00) that can be ordered via Amazon or your independent book seller.

As to Tell Me Where It Hurts, I found it to be not serious enough to be memorable and not humorous enough to be truly enjoyable.   Frankly, it was more than a mystery to me.   I’m still confused…   If I were asked to describe it in 10 words or less, I’d say “Cute, but not cute enough.”

Joseph Arellano

Note:   This book was purchased by the reviewer.

it hurts

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