Saturday, November 3, 2012

Albert of Adelaide by Howard L Anderson

Maybe I should just let the Books on the Nightstand podcast tell me what to read from now on. This was another recommendation and this one is fantastic.

The premise is so odd that you feel the need to read it. Albert is a platypus who escapes from the Adelaide zoo in Australia. He's trying to make it Old Australia, the place where life is good and animals aren't locked behind bars. It's a tale animals tell each other in the zoos and sometimes, one gets daring and breaks out.

If you are thinking this is a going to be a funny animal story, think again.

Anderson humanizes the characters so well that when a paw or tail or other animal feature is mentioned, it snaps you back to "Oh right, these are animals". The tale of Albert is told well (Audible.com has a great audiobook) and has more than enough shoot 'em up action to keep you worried about everyone's safety. Yes. Animals have guns. Frightening, isn't it?

The part of this story that kept getting to me was the savagery in the animal attacks. Because of the way the animals interact, talk... be human like....I kept forgetting that what they do to each other isn't savagery. It's predator and prey and it's the norm in the animal world.

Albert ends up in the desert, not the place for a water dwelling platypus. He strikes up friendships with Jack the Wombat who is a bit of a pyromaniac and the bandicoots, Roger and Alvin. Please, if you don't know what a bandicoot is, look it up. I had to and it made it that much better listening to the story to picture the crazy bandicoots.

Just when I was thinking animals were better than people, we come across animals that mimic the worst of humankind.

I think this novel lands up there on my favorites. Would it have if the characters had been human? I don't think so.

Try it out with a sample

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