Reviewing the Animal Review

The Animal Review: The Genius, Mediocrity, and Breathtaking Stupidity That Is Nature
In this new book I got in the mail the other day, the unobtrusive clam is a working class schmuck who never gets his due; the sedentary sponge is a symptom of low admission standards in the animal kingdom; and the much-preyed-upon wildebeest is "Nature's punching bag." "Actual passport picture," says the caption under a photo of a flensed wildebeest skull.

This is hilarious stuff. I particularly love the image of Evolution, as a burned-out, snail-designing avant-garde artist, tossing a glass of champagne in the face of a some unappreciative gallery-goer. What may not be obvious from my description is just how informative all this is. Allowing for comic exaggeration, the authors, Jacob Lentz and Steve Nash, are precise with their facts. They don't bother to point out what's true, what's funny, and what's both; they trust the reader to sort that out.

Also missing from this book is that earnest tone I've come to hate in books about wildlife. Where's it written that every wild encounter must be wrapped in a lecture on conservation? Couldn't we just learn something for its own sake, or maybe even get a laugh?

We can now. Lentz and Nash begin by throwing away the pseudo-objectivity of most nature writing. Instead, they write utterly subjective accounts of any animal they please, concluding each with a grade. The king cobra gets an A+ because they're afraid to offend it.

The cobra's not the only dangerous animal Lentz and Nash treat. Everything from the great white shark to the hippo makes an appearance. (The latter, with its cuddly looks and deadly demeanor, reminds our authors of John Wayne Gacy.)

Highly recommended. You might also enjoy the Animal Review blog, which is linked over there in the margin somewhere.


  1. This site – it’s entire concept – is a copy of this site:

    I wonder what the authors have to say?


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