Just Life by Neil Abramson-Review

Title: Just Life
Neil Abramson
Release Date: 

Description from Goodreads: From Neil Abramson, the acclaimed author of Unsaid, comes a riveting novel that explores the complex connection between humans and animals.

Veterinarian Samantha Lewis and her team are dedicated to providing a sanctuary for unwanted, abused, and abandoned dogs in New York City. But every day it gets harder to operate her no-kill shelter. Sam is already at her breaking point when she learns of an unidentified, dangerous virus spreading through their neighborhood. The medical community can only determine that animals are the carriers. Amid growing panic and a demand for immediate answers, suspicion abruptly falls on dogs as the source. Soon the governor is calling in the National Guard to enforce a quarantine — no dog may leave the area.

Samantha knows from her own painful history that, despite the lack of real evidence against the dogs, a quarantine may only be the beginning. As questions about the source of the virus mount and clash with the pressure for a politically expedient resolution, Sam is forced to make life-altering choices. She finds allies in a motley crew of New Yorkers — a local priest, a troubled teen, a smart-mouthed former psychologist, and a cop desperate to do the right thing — all looking for sanctuary from their own personal demons. But the person Sam needs the most to unravel the mystery of the virus and save the dogs is the last one she’d ever want to call on — because contacting him will mean confronting the traumatic past she has fought so hard to escape.”

Review: This is a good book and it was easy to be drawn into it, I read half the book in less than 24 hrs, however, this book is advertised to be recommended for dog lovers. I am a major dog/animal lover and have a tender heart and I sobbed through so much of this book that I had to put it away for a while. I don’t know if I will even be able to finish this book. I read ahead to the end to make sure that it ended ok, and it sounds like it will, but after sobbing uncontrollably at least 3 times before reached half way, I cannot endure more of it, at least not right now.

Many reviews say this is a really good book, and it was so far, but for tender hearted dog lovers, this can be emotional turmoil. I love happy books and is definitely not one. If you are unable to read about dogs in pain, and can literally feel it in every bone of your body like I can, this may not be the book for you. In this book you will read about dogs who have been viciously abused, dogs that are euthanized due to being in a shelter too long, and dogs who only want someone to love them, and the pain that goes with it. There is death of dogs, too many for me to endure, and pain and torture described throughout this book. None of which is endorsed of course, but it goes with the territory of this type of book. I fear I will never be able to get the images from this book out of my head.

 Recommendation: I would be very hesitant to recommend this book. Be sure that you are strong enough to deal with all of these painful experiences before you pick up this book. My husband has currently taken away my book after my third sobbing and annoying my dog with my crying and cuddling while he is trying to sleep. If you decide to pick up this book, good luck, and grab at least 1 box of Kleenex, you’ll need it.


*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*



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