Cover Image: Funny Farm

Funny Farm

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I received a widget from the publisher and was on the fence about reading this. I love dogs and have had 5 rescue dogs, so the rescue part was intriguing to me. I love animals in general but wasn't sure this was going to be my speed. I read mysteries and thrillers with the very occasional Marley and Me type of book thrown in. I figured maybe it was time for one of those off genre reads so I went for it and I am glad I did. This was different than I expected. It is mostly a memoir of Laurie Zaleski's life and how she came to own and run the Funny Farm, mostly as a result of her mother's influence. Every chapter ended with a specific animal's story. I thought the whole book would be these kinds of stories. That said, I did enjoy the book. Laurie's mother Anne was amazing and her dad was a total piece of garbage who made their difficult like unnecessarily more difficult. Laurie is inspiring too because she has helped so many animals live their best lives all while running a separate business. I think if I ever find myself in south Jersey I will make a point to visit the funny farm. It sounds like a pretty cool place.
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I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one and was a little hesitant, to be honest. But this was so pleasantly surprising! It was a mixture of uplifting, inspiring, and heartbreaking. One of those books that make you feel all the feels. Definitely recommend! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.
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DNR. Computer broke down with Kindle app and couldn’t recover nor download again. My apologies. I would have liked to have read this.
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What a great book! Yes there are heartwarming animal stories. But there is a lot about the author’s not-so-glamorous childhood of poverty and abuse. It’s a great memoir and will touch every reader. One of my favorite books so far this year.
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Talk about the phoenix rising out of the ashes Laurie Zaleski does it as does her mother. This was not the book I was expecting. I thought it was all about animal rescue, it's a bit that and so much more. This book is a who is behind the marvelous Funny Farm and the road that got them there. Abuse, physical, mental, animal and extreme poverty were a daily thing for this family as they grew. Her mother was an amazing woman who left her abusive husband, and fought with nothing till she made it. She was a light and a force that kept them all alive and mentally strong to weather the torture their father unleashed for years. 
Did I get the deep weepy feels while reading this. Oh yes I did, big huge crying sobs. Her father was such a monster. She wrote her memoir with her whole heart. Such an amazing woman, so much strength. 
If you love to see people rise from the ashes, read this. It's an amazing story.
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I loved absolutely everything about this book!  Even though there were some heart wrenching scenes and moments, the tenacity of the author and her mother are awe inspiring.  This is an amazing read that so many people can relate to.   There are issues of poverty, discrimination, domestic abuse, cancer, forgiveness, animal rescue, and perseverance.  I cannot recommend this book enough!
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I flew through this wonderful book in one night. I wasn’t sure what I would think of it, but after reading it, I am happy to say I loved it. The author tells her story of growing up in a dysfunctional family until one day her mother finally got the gumption to leave their dad. They moved into a half a house that was in sad disrepair, but the rent was cheap. It’s a story of her mother and how she made the place into a home and found ways to keep the kids fed. Annie had a deep love for animals, and working at an animal shelter, she gradually began to bring home the ones that no one wanted. It started when they needed a dog to keep intruders away from the house, and snowballed from there. Uplifting and inspiring, recommended. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Laurie Zaleski, and the publisher.
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I’ve spent 15 minutes looking for the right words. Can’t seem to find them, so I’m settling for this all too generic: I loved this book!

Funny Farm is Laurie Zaleski’s memoir, and it’s both heartbreaking and uplifting. She lives on a farm with more than 600 rescue animals. Can you even imagine that kind of love and dedication?

Zaleski takes us back to her youth, when her idyllic, privileged childhood flipped a switch into abuse and poverty. Yet, despite all the adversity to come, her tone remains positive and hopeful. She doesn’t wallow in self-pity, and she doesn’t give in to the hardships. She is a shining example of perseverance.

Then the animals entered her story. What was this woman doing to my emotions? I might’ve been crying or laughing at any given time. Occasionally both together.

Laurie Zaleski’s memoir is honest, poignant, and oh so beautiful. Read it if you love a powerful memoir. Read it if you love animals. Read it if you need an emotional boost, or inspiration, or just because.
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Abused family transitions from frantic escape to harsh living conditions without any financial security and ultimately, some measure of untraditional success. Their path is bumpy;  made more so by their husband and father who is intent upon continued harassment and abuse. But, when they succeed, their accomplishments are amazing.

Through their mother’s work, they start collecting a menagerie of lost and wounded animals.  The family tends to these animals and builds around them a farm, of sorts, and eventually a caring community.  Over time, the younger daughter, and author, Laurie Zaleski, purchases a more permanent location for the FUNNY FARM that began with their mother’s kind heart.

The book is fascinating and engaging.  Chapters alternate between the heartbreak of the dysfunctional family and the rescue of special animals.  The book is a delight to read.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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Funny Farm toggles between Laurie Zaleski's  childhood and traumatic marriage and her present life as owner of the Funny Farm, an animal sanctuary where she takes in an assortment of unwanted animals. I found myself reading the more biographical chapters quickly so I could savor the chapters that focused on the Funny Farm and its animals, although her escape from an abusive husband was compelling and heartbreaking. Some of the stories are hard to read, but this is a book full of heart, compassion and true grit.
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Oh how I needed this book! I love a good memoir, and this one was at times laugh out loud funny and so sad I would have to wipe my eyes. Laughing and crying can really be cathartic sometimes!  Funny Farm by Laurie Zaleski is such a heartwarming book. Laurie grew up in an abusive household when she was young. Her mom, Annie,  finally left and took the three kids with her (Laurie, Cathy & Stephen) and made them a home the only way she knew how, with hard work, grit and determination. Along the way she not only saved herself and her kids, but she saved animals....a lot of animals. Annie did not have it easy, and what she went thru would have broken most people, and I believe these animals saved that family. 

Laurie's ultimate goal was to buy her mom a farm for all the animals she wanted to save, and she accomplished that goal. Unfortunately, Annie passed away two weeks before they were able to move. But her dream was fully realized. Funny Farm is an actual animal rescue in New Jersey, with over 600 animals and counting. Laurie is amazing!! She not only took her mother's dream and made it a reality, but she took it to the next level. Funny Farm is a place where you can go visit and see the animals. I hope to be able to do that one day! The next best thing is to follow them online. They are on Facebook, as well as Instagram, @funnyfarmrescue  5⭐

Thank you to St Martin's Press and Laurie Zaleski for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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𝘐𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘶𝘱𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨!

What an incredible an amazing story of survival, resilience and love. Powerful and moving, this beautifully written memoir captured me completely. I loved every page.

Thank you St. Martin's Press, NetGalley and Laurie Zaleski for this gifted copy.

𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦: 𝘗𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘪𝘳𝘴, 𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘴, 𝘕𝘰𝘯 𝘍𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴.

Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals goes on sale tomorrow September 7, 2021.
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Bought at the eleventh hour, with much borrowing and white knuckling, the Funny Farm was the realization of Laurie’s mother’s fondest dreams. After a harrowing marriage, Laurie’s mother was inclined to take in all strays—human and animal—and offer a place of humor and warmth. In a ramshackle abode whose nearest neighbor was a junk heap and a wild wood, the author had at times a difficult, impoverished childhood, and simultaneously, a childhood filled with the wonder of nature. Readers who enjoyed Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals will also enjoy this memoir of growing up with a menagerie. 

Review posted in Goodreads
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Funny Farm is a memoir about how a family's relationships with animals help them deal with challenging times. Laurie, the author, grew up in prosperity until her mother took her children and moved to a small cabin/shack in the woods to escape domestic violence. The mother and children gave up all their material conveniences, but they survived the difficult time through the strength of the family bond and the animals the mother rescued

The book alternates stories from the author's childhood with those of the farmed animals that she has rescued.

Funny Farm is a poignant look at a family's love and the ability of animals to help people heal.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a galley in exchange for an honest review.
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Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals by Laurie Zaleski is a highly recommended collection of stories about animals rescued alternating with an autobiography.

Currently Laurie Zaleski is the founder and owner of New Jersey’s Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary and the founder, president and CEO of Art-Z Graphics. It was actually her mother's dream to own an animal sanctuary and Laurie now continues that legacy. Laurie's mother, Anne McNulty Zaleski, left her abusive husband in the 1970's and fled with her children to keep them safe. The family also left behind a very comfortable life to live in poverty in a ramshackle house. What they had was love for each other and a can-do attitude. Along the way the family took in various stray animals and Anne, a fierce animal lover, devoted her life to rescuing animals. 

In between the autobiographical chapters that are also a fierce tribute to her mother Anne, Zaleski tells the stories of various animals that have been rescued over the years. The many animal stories are entertaining and showcase the variety of animals that she takes in as well as the struggle and work it takes to keep an animal sanctuary running. Today the Funny Farm has more than 600 animals and is a non-profit organization which runs with help from the Zaleski family and lots of volunteers.

This is an engaging book and the writing is straightforward and accessible. Alongside the facts and tough circumstances there are humorous and inspiring occurrences too, which makes for a well-balanced narrative. As someone with a house full of adopted animal family members it's always wonderful to read anything that supports adopt don't shop. Be sure to check out the Funny Farm website.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Macmillian.
The review will be published on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, and Amazon.
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The Funny Farm is about the life (so far) of Laurie Zaleski, the author, and her Funny Farm. The Funny Farm (when the book was written) had over 600 animals. This is a heartwarming story for anyone who loves animals. I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an early copy to review.
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What an amazing story. I appreciated how this was written - the author’s childhood life mixed in with snippets about animals on the farm. Written well and filled with a sense of humor that made me literally LOL, I didn’t want to put this down.
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I don't typically seek out memoirs, but Laurie Zaleski's Funny Farm was a pleasure. Sad, heartwarming, and ultimately uplifting, I was drawn to reading this to find out how one copes with rescuing so many animals! I was not disappointed. Zaleski tells her story with such a warm voice--I'm so glad I've learned more about her and the Farm she nurtured in honor of her mother. Highly recommended, especially if, like me, you're a fan of all those zoo and veterinary reality shows.

Special thanks to St. Martin's Press for inviting me to read this advance copy in exchange for a review.
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This book alternates between Laurie’s and her siblings life growing up and stories about the animals at the farm.
It’s heart warming that her mother and then she rescued so many animals. At the same time it was a bit sad about their early life.  I enjoyed the story and think that all animal lovers will too.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy
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This was a lovely story that tracked the life of the author as well as the story of her Funny Farm.

I found myself invested in the author and her life; in all of the issues and troubles that came along with it. Anne McNulty (the author’s mother) was a wonderful woman that taught her children well. She taught them how to grow in compassion despite all the hardships they had and to be the best people that they could in the midst of whatever life threw at them.

The animal tales in funny farm were amazing and I really enjoyed hearing all the different personalities of the animals. Being a veterinary technician I did have some problems with how Laurie handled some of issues with the animals especially Yogi the bull and his horns. Dehorning calves is a painful situation, but it tends to make their quality of life better once they are adults. I’ve always thought that the quality life of the animal as well as the lives of those taking care of them are both very important. It is sometimes hard to balance that but I feel at times you have to think about those around the bull in the case of Yogi and his horns which are now causing so many health concerns.

I did really enjoy how Lori described megaoesophagus (very truthful in its horror) and how Chucky and later Tucker were treated and survived while having this genetic default. She made the family’s hardships into a great lesson both for her and for the Funny Farm.

The heartbreak in realistic tales of both Laurie’s family growing up and the animals in the Funny Farm were amazing and terrible at the same time. I felt very much invested in this novel and had a hard time putting it down once started. I definitely now want to take a trip to New Jersey and find the Funny Farm and experience it for myself.
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