An Animal Life

A Chance to Cut Series, Book 2

Fiction - Animals
310 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2015
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Author Biography

Howard is an aquatic animal veterinarian and science writer who’s worked with everything from humpback whales, dolphin and jellyfish to sea turtles and lumpfish. With a long-standing goal to combine his love for animals, science and creative communication, Howard enrolled in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University where he studied science writing, nonfiction and fiction writing. He graduated in 2002 with a MA and has published numerous scientific articles and penned chapters including “When Whale Sharks Fly” in: The Rhino With Glue-on Shoes and Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients (Bantam/Dell Publishing Company). In fact, Howard loves writing so much, he’s been known to compose emails and to-do lists on a daily basis. Currently, he lives in Vermont with his fabulous wife, their sweet dog Mola and a really-good kitten, Lucky George.

    Book Review

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.