Monday, October 15, 2018

All the Little Animals
All the Little Animals
Orion mass market paperback, Paperback, 28 January, 1999
Author: Walker Hamilton
ISBN: 0575401869
List Price: £4.99
Used Price: £5.98
Third Party Price: £2.24
Availability: Limited availability
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Customer Reviews

All the Little Animals
I found this book in San Francisco in a used book shop. I could not put it down once I started reading it and have recommended the book to friends (2 of whom actually read it and found it to be equally wonderful).

It's one of the most beautiful little stories I have ever read and am sad to learn that Walker Hamilton has not published any other books of the same genre. The relationship between Bobby Platt and Mr. Summers is heartwarming and Bobby and his shovel; and his pride upon getting his first job was very moving.

Lovely book!

An ideal read whist commuting to work
That Walker Hamilton's novella was ever published, surprises. That it has now been made into a film (with no less an actor than John Hurt) is a complete mystery to me.

'All the Little Animals' was Hamilton's first, and thankfully only, foray into literature. Even as modern-day fairy tale the book fails. The plot is na´ve and overly sentimental. And as for the denouement, well, I suspect Hamilton simply ran out of ideas. The ending is wholly implausible and leaves the reader unsatisfied but not wanting more.

But that's not to say that this book is entirely without merit. The characters are believable. We can all empathise with Bobby - the 31 year old with the intellect, and consequently the innocence and honesty, of a young child. And we're all aware of a 'the Fat', Bobby's evil stepfather - a man bereft of all humanity. It's what Hamilton does, or rather what he doesn't do, with the characters that ultimately disappoints.

So, would I recommend this book? Actually I would. At little over 100 pages, it makes for an ideal read and distraction whilst commuting to work.

But don't believe the hype. This novella isn't a 'little gem' (Evening Standard), nor is it 'an extraordinary moving little book' (Roald Dahl).

Momentary respite from cruel world 4 2 damaged individuals
Walker Hamilton packs so much plot and pathos into 110 pages that I defy anyone not to finish it in one sitting. Narrated by Bobby, a 31 year old man with the mental age of a child. Abused by his cruel stepfather after the death of his Mother Bobby decides to run away. fate leads him quite literally into the path of the strange lttle Man (Mr Summers) After a cautious introduction, Mr Summers agrees to give Bobby his first ever job and the subsequent self worth they both experience provides momentary respite from a cruel world for these 2 damaged individuals.

This is a book for anyone who's ever dreamed of escaping from the real world with all it's unfairnes and human irritants. Mr Summers is proof positive that you can, provided you make the necassary sacrifice and are prepared to learn your lesson from All the little animals. It also helps if you find a partner as perfect as Bobby.

It's the honest logic of Bobby's childlike perception that makes us empathise, understand and ultimately forgive them their simple but savage plan.

Like Robert Maugham's The Servant, This is a perfectly dark, compelling, compassionate and original little gem. Read it now, just in case the film (Soon to be released, starring John Hurt as Mr Summers) murders this, the authors only published novel.

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