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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
An Animal Life: A Chance to Cut by Howard Krum is an animal lover's dream book. Mike London is a true romantic and sincere animal lover. In his final year of veterinary school, Mike struggles through the day to day grind required for graduation. Being a Senior has its advantages, like doing countless shifts at the school’s emergency service (ES), guiding first year students, rescuing aquatic wildlife in the midst of a terrible winter storm, and facing off the faculty in the annual hockey game. After making a critical mistake, Mike finds himself crumbling under the pressure and scrutiny of a relentless faculty doctor – “Special K.” Special K’s infamous words: "a chance to cut is a chance to heal" simultaneously motivate and haunt Mike. With the help of his crew of friends and some crucial “resourcin,” Mike overcomes some devastating odds. Regaining his confidence, Mike London finds his “place” as a soon-to-be veterinarian.
Howard Krum and his co-authors log the antics and the responsibilities of veterinarian school students in An Animal Life: A Chance to Cut. The narrative is written in three parts, chronicling a day to day timeline. However, at the beginning of each part, the author uses the flashback technique, revealing vital information regarding the main character’s childhood. These flashes into the past are critical in the overall understanding of the protagonist. The characters are driven, resourceful and passionate. Making them whimsical and overtly eccentric, Krum gives many of them witty and hilarious nicknames, revealing tremendous insight into their personalities. The narrative is intelligently written, using vet school terminology. But, it is much more than alphabet soup dialogues. It is full of comic relief offsetting critical events, which takes the reader from tears to laughter. At times the descriptions are delightful and poetically beautiful. Through all of the fun and heartache, ups and downs of vet school, one theme flows carefully throughout: Love is the answer to the brokenness inside.