cover image Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals

Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals

Laurie Zaleski. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-27283-6

In this heartwarming debut, Zaleski, founder of New Jersey’s Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary, shares how she came to live with “hundreds of ducks and geese, dogs and cats, pigs and goats, alpacas and horses.” After her mother left her sadistic father in the 1970s, with Zaleski and her siblings in tow, the transition (which included “hiding out in a motel”) was rough, but the peace they found made up for the loss of their upper-middle-class lifestyle. Laurie’s plucky mother, Annie, was a fierce animal lover and devoted her life to rescuing animals, even when money was tight. So it only seemed fitting, after her mother died in 2000, for Zaleski to fulfill Annie’s dream of running her own animal rescue. Today, her farm accommodates more than 600 animals—ranging from skunks taken in from exotic animal breeders to retired racehorses—many of which she pays loving tributes to. As she dishes stories of her guests—including Angel, a cantankerous, disabled goose who “didn’t live up to her name,” and a sweet 1,200-pound mare—Zaleski masterfully illustrates how one person can rise above difficult circumstances to do substantial good. Lovers of the furry and feathery will revel in this feel-good story. (Sept.)