Shamu School

After my requisite hour plus of work on UNTITLED EARTHQUAKE MOVIE this morning, I got to read WHAT SHAMU TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOVE AND MARRIAGE for work. I loved this column-esque nonfiction book about applying exotic animal training on humans by Amy Sutherland (a fellow Northwestern alum!). The book is the offspring of her NYT column of the same name that was the paper’s most emailed story of 2006.

In the book, Amy offers “a personal story as a kind of Alice who stumbled into a Wonderland where cheetahs walk on leashes, hyenas pirouette on command, and baboons skateboard.” While in her Jungle-Wonderland, Amy realizes that she could use the training techniques in her interpersonal relationships, on her husband and to improve herself. Aptly, chapter one is titled “People are Animals Too.”

Her book is quick (160 pages), funny, joyfully smart, well-written, easy to digest, relatable, has a great character arc and is a happy tear jerker. And it’s not even fiction. Themes of communication, trust, self-examination, the search for balance in our trainer-human lives, and renewed perspective play out without notice or force in this delightful account of how we have a lot to learn from the wild kingdom. Christmas gift alert!

My “Currently Reading” status will change when we pick our next book after discussing FREEDOM in tonight’s book club!

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