How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals (Hardcover)
Naturalist Sy Montgomery (her book The Soul of an Octopus was a National Book Award finalist in 2015) returns with a sweet and affecting memoir chronicling thirteen of the most meaningful friendships of her life—each with an animal. Elements of the classic animal memoir are here: Montgomery writes about no fewer than four different dogs, as well as a particularly lovable pig. But there are surprises, too, like the chapter devoted to a trio of emus encountered in the Australian Outback, or the one about a gentle South American tarantula. In examining her own life through the lens of the animals that have populated it, Montgomery hits on something universal: Our intersections with the animal kingdom, no matter how small, have the extraordinary power to elevate and strengthen our own humanity. Stylish two-color illustrations by Rebecca Green enliven the text, and photographs in the back add extra resonance.— Noah
Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet’s rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy’s life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets.
This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy’s friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.
About the Author
“How to Be a Good Creature is one of the most moving books I have ever read. Sy Montgomery’s open honesty about her life allows her to find guidance from the unlikeliest creatures, and in their own ways these animals speak with the same spiritual purity as she speaks to us in this breathtaking work.”—Bob Tarte, author of Enslaved by Ducks
“I don’t know anyone whose animal empathies and scientific bona fides I admire more than Montgomery’s—from the curiosity she holds for a tarantula to the tender longing she has for an octopus. Told with characteristic humility and gorgeous language, How to Be a Good Creature is a remarkable achievement.”—Eliot Schrefer, author of Endangered, a National Book Award finalist
“A truly beautiful book about life, family, loss, and love.”—Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals
“How to Be a Good Creature is a rare jewel, full of empathy and the profound wisdom Sy has received from animals she has loved over her extraordinary lifetime. This sweet book is a triumphant masterpiece that I’m recommending to everyone.”—Stacey O’Brien, author of Wesley the Owl
“This is a beautiful book—essential reading for anyone who loves animals and knows how much they can teach us about being human.”—Gwen Cooper, author of Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder