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

Stars: 4 of 5 

Though I’ve never had a phase where I’d rather be an animal, I can relate to the way the animals I’ve had have changed my outlook. How to Be a Good Creature is Montgomery’s explanation of just that. It’s the animals in her life that have changed her somehow and they are an interesting set of animals, all of which are depicted on the cover. 

I loved that they were all on the cover and referring to it whenever she started talking about a new animal. The stories of each animal were delightful, even when they were sad. One of the difficult things about having pets is that the inevitable pass on before we do. This book goes beyond pets, though, to other animals that Montgomery has interacted with through her work as a naturalist. Given the array of animals and ways that she interacted with or observed them, it lends to the idea that animals can always teach us something. It doesn’t even matter how fleeting our interaction was and we don’t technically have to interact but even just observe them in order for them to teach us a little something about being a good creature. 

Even though I cried a few times, How to Be a Good Creature, I did enjoy listen to it, especially in the phases of getting to know animals. I had never heard of Earthwatch before but now I want to go on one of their expeditions.  

It was surprisingly short, too. It was just under 4 hours of listening time for the audiobook. I want to listen to Soul of an Octopus too one day. Montgomery really does have a talent for expressing that thing that happens when we’re loved by animals and I look forward to checking out more of her books.

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