Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals; Laurie Zaleski
St. Martin's Press - 2022
Author Laurie Zaleski's love of animals began early in life. Her mother Annie loved all kinds of animals and had a dream of rescuing the unwanted, abused and abandoned animals who needed a second chance. First, her mother had to escape her abusive life at the hands of Laurie's father Richard, a wealthy professor with a mean streak. She along with Laurie and her two siblings had fled the family home several times only to be coaxed back by Richard. Finally they were able to escape for good but, they were never really rid of him. It was the mid-1970s and a difficult situation for a mother to be in. With almost no money of her own and no alimony she made the best of a bad situation with multiple lower level jobs. One of Annie's jobs was in animal control and she was forever bringing a soon to be put to death animal home. Her big heart planted her dream of having her own rescue. Unfortunately, that didn't happen for her -- she passed away at 52. Laurie, however, was able to live her mother's dream. She bought a 15 acre parcel in New Jersey's Pine Barrens region and began taking in helpless creatures: horses, pigs, goats, calves, llamas, cats, wounded birds and many other varieties of unwanted or neglected animals. Today some 600 creatures call Funny Farm home.
I loved this memoir and the way it was written. The chapters alternate between the past Laurie's and her sibling's childhood and her mother's need to see that her children learned compassion by help animals. The chapters that focus on the present - are about "funny farm" and how various animals that live on the farm found their way there. I loved the resilience of this family and how they didn't dwell on misfortune but picked themselves up and made it their mission to help the helpless. Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary is open to the public and has many loyal volunteers and supporters today. I highly recommend this memoir.
Rating - 5/5 stars
(NOTE: The eGalley was sent to me by the publisher, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review)