Unforgettable Faces & Stories: Pet Tales: Unconditional Love

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Unforgettable Faces & Stories: Pet Tales: Unconditional Love

Last Free Dates: 2nd Sep 14 to 6th Sep 14
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...I downloaded this because I am a sucker for animal stories, noting the normal price was £6.00 and assumed the large file size was due to pictures. ...

I downloaded this because I am a sucker for animal stories, noting the normal price was £6.00 and assumed the large file size was due to pictures. In principle a collection of animal stories written by their owners to raise funds for charity is great idea, which I support. The execution, on the other hand, is lacking.

There is a lot of front matter to get through which is mainly made up of notes, thanks, three pages of testimonials about her other books, and a plea for reviews. My heart sank when I reached the first content (and I was at 5% before I encountered the actual content of the book). It is a retelling of the Rainbow Bridge. The second “To a poor and lonely stray I’d give” is similarly familiar and two seconds on Google produced the source. I was beginning to have a horrible feeling I had picked up a creative commons PLR title – made entirely of cribbed content. By 7% we were at unattributed quotes, which Google shows are from stickers available on eBay, online lists and similar… I was beginning to get a nasty feeling most of this review would be spent running the book (charity project or not) through turnitin.

This suspicion did rather spoil my enjoyment of the book. While the book is only listed under one author, each tale is credited to another author. I actually ended up checking manually online whether the people who wrote each story had given permission (and, to be fair, they had). At the end of the book it does clarify that these are “Your stories, told by you” but I do wonder why the contributors aren’t listed as authors. The table of contents is also at the back, an unusual but valid choice.

The stories, once you reach them, are touching tributes to many pets, friends and companion animals. The majority of these are about losing a pet, and even those that aren ot will normally mention the passing of a prior pet. If you want funny animal stories, this is not the right book for you.

I cannot fault the grammar and readability, but while the front matter is well-presented, the formatting of the content itself is extremely poor. Titles are not centred or enlarged, merely bolded – or in a few cases absent. On my older reader, they look the same as text. There is a name above each title and at the end of it, and it took some time to work out these were the writers. The fact these names are not always present or formatted consistently does not help. There are many photos, almost all of excellent quality, which were presumably donated by the authors of each section and take up a full page each. At the end of a story this is a lovely addition, but when they are placed in the middle of one, it makes a mess of the text flow in places.

It is a lovely idea, giving grieving and fond owners the chance to tell their pets’ story and help animal charities at the same time. Unfortunately I can’t recommend this for two reasons: first the amount of CC content at the front, and second because it does not say, even approximately, what percentage of the book’s profits go to the charities concerned. This may be an American thing, but in the UK readers would expect authors to give some indication even in the small print.

You might buy this if you know the contributors, or if you want to read tributes to pets who have passed on. Don’t buy this to support animal charities – go and look at animal pictures and stories online and then drop a fiver in your local animal charity’s collection box.

Rating: 2
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