The New York Times calls Animal Madness a “lovely, big-hearted book…brimming with compassion and the tales of the many, many humans who devote their days to making animals well.” Read more.
Publisher’s Weekly says it’s “Illuminating….Braitman’s delightful balance of humor and poignancy brings each case to life….[Animal Madness’s] continuous dose of hope should prove medicinal for humans and animals alike.” More.
“A gem..that can teach much us much about the wildness of our own minds,” according to Psychology Today. More.
“This is a marvelous, smart, eloquent book — as much about human emotion as it is about animals and their inner lives. Braitman’s research is fascinating, and she writes with the ease and engagement of a natural storyteller.” Susan Orlean, author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief
“Where the BuzzFeed Animals page, for example, urges us to see animals as an undifferentiated mass of squee-worthy fluff, Braitman wants us to take animals seriously—to see them as individuals with life histories and psychologies as dramatic and intense as our own.” More. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker.
The book is one of Discover Magazine‘s top five summer reads, a summer science reading pick by Science Friday, a best book of June at Amazon, one of People Magazine’s best summer reads, one of the Dodo‘s must read books of the summer, and Maria Popova of Brainpickings says it’s “a moving, pause-giving, and ultimately optimistic read in its entirety,” written with “equal parts rigor and compassion.” I’ve also chatted about the book, Mr. G (the goat) and Jellybean (the donkey), on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. And I talked to NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, KQED, WBUR and KCRW.
ANIMAL MADNESS is the sanest book I’ve read in a long time. Laurel Braitman irrefutably shows that animals think and feel, and experience the same emotions that we do. To deny this is crazy–which is why this fine book should be required reading for anyone who cares about healing the broken inner lives of both people and animals. Sy Montgomery, author of the Good Good Pig
The wonderful thing [Braitman] discovered is that it is possible for animals to heal, a message crystallized by her encounters with “friendly” gray whales who sought out human contact, even though they still bore harpoon scars from the whaling days.
Nancy Bent, Booklist
Loving animals is easy. Thinking clearly about them can be almost impossible. Only a writer as earnestly curious as Laurel Braitman—so irrepressibly game to understand the animal mind—could draw this elegantly on both the findings of academic scientists and the observations of a used elephant salesman in Thailand; on the sorrows of a famous, captive grizzly bear in nineteenth-century San Francisco and the anxieties of her own dog. Animal Madness is a big-hearted and wildly intelligent book. Braitman rigorously demystifies so much about the other animals of our world while simultaneously generating even greater feelings of wonder.
Jon Mooallem, author of Wild Ones
Animal Madness is a landmark book. Researchers have long ignored animals in need, especially in the wild. However, just as we suffer from a wide variety of psychological disorders so too do other animals. But they make a remarkable recovery when they are cared for, understood, and loved.
Marc Bekoff, author of Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed and editor of Ignoring Nature No More
Animal Madness takes us on a roller-coaster of an emotional journey among emotionally unhappy animals. There are lows and highs here — the fears and worries of disturbed animals, and the joy and hope of humans trying to help them. In this compelling and provocative book, Braitman shows us sides of the animal mind few have imagined, and in doing so, opens our eyes anew.
Virginia Morell, Author of ANIMAL WISE
Animal Madness is compulsively readable and thoroughly engaging: Laurel has the rare gift of being able to combine ideas, research and personal experience into a compelling narrative. Yet behind the engaging tone and the lightness of touch there is a deep seriousness, as indeed there should be. For the ideas that animate Animal Madness are of the greatest urgency and importance, especially in this era of climate change: to acknowledge that all living things exist within a continuum of consciousness is a vital first step towards the dissolution of that human-centred world view that has, ironically, led humanity as well as millions of other species to the brink of disaster. Read more.
Amitav Ghosh, author of River of Smoke, The Glass Palace, and The Hungry Tide
In the tradition of Marc Bekoff and Virginia Morell, Laurel Braitman deftly and elegantly makes the case that animals have complex emotional lives. This passionate, provocative, and insightful book deeply expands our knowledge and empathy for all species—especially, perhaps, our own.” B. Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. and K. Bowers, Co-authors: Zoobiquity: Astonishing Connections Between Human and Animal Health
Braitman’s gradual accretion of reasons to believe in animal emotional states that we can relate to, including the loopy ones, gives pause and sparks curiosity. More.
Laurel Braitman’s Animal Madness is a gem. It’s about as novel a book as I can find on the general topic of animals “losing their minds” and in many ways shows is the wildness of our own minds. Braitman traveled the world in search of emotionally disturbed animals and the people who care for them, and discovered numerous stories of recovery. Following up on Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolutionary continuity, we clearly see that “Nonhuman animals can lose their minds. And when they do, it often looks a lot like human mental illness.”
Yes, it’s got aggressive dogs and self-harming cats, but this is not a primer on how to deal with your pet’s behavioral issues. Animal Madness is much more: It’s a riveting, thoughtful exploration of the “emotional thunderstorms” and physiological imbalances other species can experience as intensely as humans do. ..Braitman creates a compelling case for recognizing parallels in human and animal mental health. You’ll never look at your dog gnawing on the sofa arm quite the same again.
Humane, insightful, and beautifully written, “Animal Madness” gives anthropomorphism a good name. Laurel Braitman’s modern and nuanced definition of the word helps animals, helps people, and bolsters the connection between the two. Her thought-provoking book illuminates just how much we share with the creatures around us.
Vicki Constantine Croke, author of The Lady and the Panda, Elephant Company
Braitman assembles the shattered pieces of others’ minds into a thoroughly considered and surprising realization that many familiar animals possess the same mental demons that haunt us. This insight challenges us to accept that our ancient kinship with other animals is as apparent in our psyche as it is in our physique.
John Marzluff, Author of Gifts of the Crow