1562223So the first annual Ja No Read Mo was a bit of a bust.  I was able to get through four of the eleven books I was hoping to read, and I am perfectly willing to admit it was all my fault.  I had gotten myself Dragon Age 2 for Christmas, and it took off with my soul for the first two weeks.  That, plus a few bad choices that took me longer to get through than I expected slowed me down.  *sigh*  Oh well.  There’s always next year, and no rules against trying again later on.

I’ll have to think about next year though.  The suggestion was made to turn it into a bit of a charity/fundraiser thing.  It was just mentioned in passing, but has piqued my interest, so I’ll have to look into it further.

But now, without further adieu, I present to you ladies and gentlemen, the final book for the First Annual Ja No Read Mo.  Enjoy.

Wow.  First off, this was painful to read.  Really.  It’s a kids classic, so I thought I would rip through it pretty quick…but…no…

Beautiful Joe is the story of a dog in his own words.  Think Black Beauty if you’ve ever read the book or watched the movie.  The only difference is book really encompasses all kinds of animals cats, dogs, birds, farm animals, etc., rather than just focusing on one type.

So Beautiful Joe is a dog who was abused by his first master.  Had his ears and tail chopped off with an axe because the guy got in a bad mood.  Luckily for him someone with a better heart came along just as it happened, heard the noise poor Joe was making, and rescued him after laying the owner down low.  The gentleman we later learn is named Harry, takes Joe to his cousin’s house (farm, really.  This all takes place out in the country) where he is visiting and the family soon sets him to rights.

Now this family has a thing for all animals.  They have quite the menagerie going at their home: horses, dogs, birds, a cat, cows, guinea pigs, you name it there’s probably one kicking around the property that these folks have saved.  And honestly it warms the heart to think that there are people like that out there.

The rest of the story is Joe telling us about his life with these people, and the stories he hears along the way about the myriad ways people are cruel and abusive to animals.  Some things are typical and you would expect, and some things, if true, chill your blood.

Beautiful Joe is actually based on a true story.  The author, Margaret Saunders, apparently went visiting with friends and family, and heard the story of a dog who was abused.  I’m assuming in the same way as Beautiful Joe, but we’re not told that.  Anyway, Ms. Saunders decided to write a book about the dog’s life from his point of view, and here we have it.

It’s a really good book, but I would have liked it better if not for a few things.  First off, it’s the wrong choice of book for me.  I consider myself a kind hearted soul,  and it was hard for me to read the abuses that the animals suffered in the book.  Even though they’re fictional, the abuses they undertake are quite real.

The other fact is that it is steeped in Christianity.  Always referring to how God made man and beast to be such-n-such and not so-n-so.  Not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, I can see where it would have installed some good morals in the kiddies reading it when it first came out, but if you’re not a religious person it does tend to hamper the reading I find.

That and the fact that every time people were talking about animals, be it as a whole or an individual, they were always “poor dumb beasts”.  And then the animals would be lauded for their intelligence.  Can’t decide if that’s ironic or hypocritical…

So all in all I really did like Beautiful Joe.  It is a touching, heart warming, and at times a fun story.  Worth picking up if you’re interested in animal stories, I just would have like it better if it wasn’t for the aforementioned factors.

Next time I want to read something like this folks, please stop me.  I cry easily.

So now we say farewell to Ja No Read Mo for a year, and hopefully next time around I’ll have a bit better luck.  And in case you were wondering what’s next on my chopping block, here it is:  Book two of the Sons of the Zodiac, Warrior Avenged.

7944873Millennia ago, the goddess of justice created a race of fierce warriors-each imbued with a special power of the zodiac-charged with protecting humanity from the darkest evils…

Immortal warrior Kane Montague is as lethal as the Scorpion that makes his powerful form. As an assassin for MI-6, he’s an ace gun-for-hire. After being double-crossed on a mission, Kane knows all too well who’s to blame: a sexy, secretive agent named Ilsa who may be even deadlier than he is…