Funny Farm

My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals

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Pub Date 22 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 08 Feb 2022

Description

An inspiring and moving memoir of the author's turbulent life with 600 rescue animals.

Laurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie’s dream. But from girlhood, Laurie was determined to make the dream come true. Thirty years later as a successful businesswoman, she did it, buying a 15-acre farm deep in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She was planning to relocate Annie and her caravan of ragtag rescues—horses and goats, dogs and cats, chickens and pigs—when Annie died, just two weeks before moving day. In her heartbreak, Laurie resolved to make her mother's dream her own. In 2001, she established the Funny Farm Animal Rescue outside Mays Landing, New Jersey. Today, she carries on Annie’s mission to save abused and neglected animals.

Funny Farm is Laurie’s story: of promises kept, dreams fulfilled, and animals lost and found. It’s the story of Annie McNulty, who fled a nightmarish marriage with few skills, no money and no resources, dragging three kids behind her, and accumulating hundreds of cast-off animals on the way. And lastly, it's the story of the brave, incredible, and adorable animals that were rescued.

An inspiring and moving memoir of the author's turbulent life with 600 rescue animals.

Laurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie’s dream. But from girlhood...


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ISBN 9781250272836
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Average rating from 88 members


Featured Reviews

This was the perfect book to start my new year. Full of hope, kindness, humor, and compassion, Funny Farm was impossible to put down. I will continue to recommend this book to all animal-lovers who are looking for a motivational non-fiction read. I am looking forward to learning more about the Funny Farm and supporting Laurie Zaleski in making the world better for both animals and humans. Highly recommend this one! Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read a digital ARC. This is one I will definitely be purchasing to keep on my bookshelf once released!

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This is one of those books I want to hug. Laura runs a farm for unwanted animals in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She is actually doing the thing that so many of us wish we could do, but we’ve managed to make enough excuses to keep ourselves out of the situation. Laura really had no choice. With her upbringing, it makes perfect sense, and it makes her the perfect caregiver for over 600 happy campers, animals who need a home. Laura’s story is beautifully told. At times we’re reflecting on her upbringing. This alone explains a lot about where Laura is now. At times we’re enjoying stories about her adopted animals; some happy, some hilarious, and some very sad. The end result is this beautifully written memoir. Laura clearly explains what makes her tick, and we love her for it. If I’m ever in her part of the country, I'm definitely paying a day-long visit to The Funny Farm Animal Rescue. Sincere thanks to St. Martin’s Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The publishing date is February 22, 2022.

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Very good read! Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

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I like this book and the casual, conversational style that it is written in. The author alternates between her life story and difficult childhood and tales of the varied rescue animals that she and her mother have cared for. It all started with her mother’s love of animals, and taking in a stray or two, until it grew to a still thriving rescue of over 600 animals. No creature is excluded as this rescue has farm animals, wild animals, pets, birds and more. Their sometimes tragic and sometimes funny stories are interspersed within her personal memoirs, all coming together in the most interesting way. I highly recommend this book to animal lovers specifically, and to everyone in general. Thank you to NetGalley for the advance read copy.

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What a romp! And by that, I don’t mean to imply that it’s all sweetness and light. This is a well written memoir describing a strong, creative matriarch and her determined children who overcame serious hardships to build their own fulfilling lives.

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What a heart warming memoir. I felt Lauri's pains thru her story. I have volunteered an numerous animal shelters and see the pain, heartbreak and despair in these animals. And I also witnessed the happy, hopeful signs when they are adopted. This is one I will recommend to many of my friends and family.

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Part memoir, part tribute to her inspirational mother, Zaleski also includes many anecdotes about some of the residents of her animal rescue, named the Funny Farm. She relates her childhood and the build-up to the current 15-acre property that currently homes hundreds of rescue animals - along with Laurie herself. It's a riveting read - the type of nonfiction that reads with the flow of fiction. It's funny, but also moving, emotional and definitely tear-inducing. Overall, despite the tears, it is an uplifting read. And I am sure that the finished book will include some photos - though with the help of Google, I was able to pull plenty along the way. I had never heard of this New Jersey rescue organization until I was invited to read this one and I am so glad that I did! It's well-written and a good balance between the author's life, her rescue's mission and the residents. If I am ever in the area, I definitely plan on visiting!

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Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley. My review opinion is my own. I absolutely loved this story of empowerment, survival and love of animals. This is a wonderful read and very inspiring . Laurie Zaleski runs an animal rescue in New Jersey called Funny Farm. Her mom Annie was her inspiration when she started the rescue but sadly passed away soon after. Laurie is a very inspiring person as she gathered volunteers and family to help her save animals and run her rescue . Now she has saved over 600 animals and birds . She runs a successful rescue non profit. She writes of her youth, what experiences drove her to save animals as her passion and how she loved her Mother who framed her upbringing with great strength and independence while raising three children amid difficulties. Laurie has shared so much of herself and her family her that it is quite touching and very profound reading . Her love of animals is her dedicated passion and I loved reading about those lives she saved and the unrelenting passion she has for all animals. I loved this book and highly recommend it for all who love animals and stories of inspiring women. Very well done to the author !

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I wasn’t sure what, exactly, I was getting with “Funny Farm” by Laurie Zaleski. From the description I guessed it might be like an updated James Herriot type of book - little stories about animals on a farm. But the description also mentioned a tribute to Laurie’s mother, Annie McNulty who’d escaped a bad marriage and managed to survive with little while raising three kids, taking whatever jobs she could, and taking care of animals on her own. So - maybe a combination of “The Glass Castle” (Jeannette Walls) and James Herriot? My summary is “yes, but not quite.” Ms. Zaleski writes in a very direct manner - she’s to the point, no sugar coating, but also not writing a book of vengeance - so in that sense it did remind me of Jeanette Walls’s “The Glass Castle,” where you have to wonder (at times) how both families survived the hardships they faced. There are James Herriot-esque stories about the animals, but, again, Ms. Zaleski doesn’t sugar-coat things - animals die in this book, animals also have amusing things happen to them, animals are also saved and allowed to live rather good long lives. If you want a light happy story, please choose another book - the cover makes this look like a light book, but it’s not. I enjoyed Ms. Zaleski’s direct writing, but it’s probably not for everyone. I hadn’t heard of Funny Farm before I read this book, but it sounds like a very interesting place to visit if I were in the area.

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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. https://www.instagram.com/booksandcoffeemx/

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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: 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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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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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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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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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 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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As a huge supporter of rescue, I knew I had to read this book! And it was a total delight. Getting to hear Laurie’s story and how the Funny Farm came to be and meeting the animals was so much fun. Such a quick easy, and emotional read this was a book I’m glad I didn’t miss! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you NetGalley, Laurie Zaleski and St. Martin’s Press for this edition and hearing my honest review. Looking forward to reading more with you #partner

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Laurie’s mother Annie had it all planned out. She became a successful businesswoman, bought 15 acres of farm in New Jersey and she was going to have her life long dream of an animal rescue satisfied. However, two weeks before she moved she died. . This was not Annie’s dream, but quickly she realized her dream would be making her mother’s dream come true. She had no skills for animal rescue, no resources and a bad marriage with three kids. She decided to be brave and flee her marriage, throw herself into the rescue life with three kids in tow and soon realized that rescuing animals also helps rescue yourself. . This is a story of being brave, passionate, taking the leap and finding a home among other rescues. Anyone who’s ever rescued any animal at all knows the simple truth, you are rescuing each other. . Thank you @StMartinsPress and @netgalley for an arc in exchange for an honest 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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I absolutely loved this book! It was well written and kept me interested all the way until the end. I can’t wait for more by author!! Highly recommend.

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I loved Funny Farm. It was heartwarming, affirming, and funny. Laurie's childhood was far from easy, but both she and her mother forged ahead through adversity to succeed. Laurie's heart is so full of love for others - especially unique, abandoned, needy animals.

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I was immediately drawn to this book by the subtitle - My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals. I read How to be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery last year and this memoir reminded me a lot of that book. There were a lot of similarities. For example, each chapter in this book ends with “Animal Tails” which highlights one or two of the animals living at the Funny Farm. I loved that aspect. The book is a memoir of Laurie Zaleski’s life, and each animal has a special place in her heart. Laurie’s childhood was not easy, so this memoir is definitely heavy, but the Animal Tails bring a levity that was entertaining and heartwarming.

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I received this book for free as an advanced readers copy and am voluntarily giving my honest review. Back in the days of Laurie Zaleski's growing up, everyone thought her family was right up there in the charmed life style of upper middle class life. The children; Cathy, Laurie, and Stephen; had what they needed and wanted. They saw their mother, Anne, look up to her husband Richard with adoring love. Until the day mom received a letter that blew apart the marriage and threatened her family. As the story continues, you will find a woman who will fight a corrupt system and would rather show her children true compassion and strength even if it means living in poverty. What Laurie learned from her mom will lead her to continue her mom's legacy to save every animal destined for death that she can. Laurie can't do it on her own and her journey to bring the Funny Farm to life in spite of impossible odds will make you proud to know of her as a fellow human being. I say this because this is the time for Laurie's story. You will understand that the least of us can help, even the poorest children. This is not some sob story (although there are times of sadness and frustration). Laurie and all who help her will bring some smiles and hope to us all. There are special stories of animals who can teach us a lot. Enjoy every bit of this book. I recommend reading it and yes, I know some is tough to weather, but it's well worth it for what it will bring to you in the end.

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This book had alternating chapters between stories about the rescue animals and Laurie's life. I found the chapters about her life to be heart wrenching at times, some parts almost brought me to tears. It really reminded me of two of my favorite memoirs (The Glass Castle and Educated). The chapters about the rescue animals were cute, and I'm definitely going to be looking up all of the rescue animals she mentioned on her Instagram and FB page. I think the alternating chapters could totally be written into two separate books, I was really intrigued and wanted more details about both! This is the type of book you'll read in one sitting, I really enjoyed it! I would recommend this to animal lovers and fans of memoirs!

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An impressive real-life story. This already has a lot of high ratings, and expect it will receive a lot more. People like a good animal story, this is certainly unique. Recommended to basically anyone. This should sell well. Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars This is really two books in one, and one of the them was unexpected. Each chapter starts with the story of Laurie, her mother Anne, and her brother and sister, who leave an abusive husband/father and his financial support and start out with nothing and how Laurie built the farm into a rescue operation. The second half of each chapter tells heartwarming stories about of some of the hundreds of rescue animals the Zaleski family has rescued over the years. A quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Anne seemed to be a one of a kind, special individual. I hope to make it down to South Jersey and visit Funny Farm on visiting days. I highly recommend this book.

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Author: Laurie Zaleski Summary: An inspiring and moving memoir of the author's turbulent life with 600 rescue animals. Laurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie’s dream. But from girlhood, Laurie was determined to make the dream come true. Thirty years later as a successful businesswoman, she did it, buying a 15-acre farm deep in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She was planning to relocate Annie and her caravan of ragtag rescues―horses and goats, dogs and cats, chickens and pigs―when Annie died, just two weeks before moving day. In her heartbreak, Laurie resolved to make her mother's dream her own. In 2001, she established the Funny Farm Animal Rescue outside Mays Landing, New Jersey. Today, she carries on Annie’s mission to save abused and neglected animals. Funny Farm is Laurie’s story: of promises kept, dreams fulfilled, and animals lost and found. It’s the story of Annie McNulty, who fled a nightmarish marriage with few skills, no money and no resources, dragging three kids behind her, and accumulating hundreds of cast-off animals on the way. And lastly, it's the story of the brave, incredible, and adorable animals that were rescued. Personal Review: They had me with the cute photos on the front and the mention of a memoir. I loved that this story followed Annie's journey throughout her new adventures. Cliche... the phrase about who rescuing who...but this story played that out. I enjoyed the book and I love that is based on a real place that provides 24/7 support for the animals. All of my animal-loving friends should go get this book, please :). More information here: http://funnyfarmrescue.org/ Disclaimer: I was awarded this book from the publisher/Net Galley. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own. Happy Reading!

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As a person who also does rescue though on a much smaller scale, this book was made for me. Really heartwarming book. It's alwayscgrear to hear about the good people in life.. Highly recommend.

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I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this book! This is a memoir of Laurie Zaleski and her 600 Rescue Animal Sanctuary called Funny Farm in New Jersey, and how it all came to be. She went through overwhelming odds with her family from a very young age. It started with just a few rescued animals at their meager home they began calling the funny farm and then became her mother's passion and life-long dream to own a big farm and run a big animal rescue sanctuary. Unfortunately, her mom developed cancer and while she fought hard, she lost her battle only two weeks before Laurie closed on the new farm that she had always dreamed of buying for her. Although Laurie Zaleski already owns and operates her own art firm in the city, she still decided to also continue on with the Funny Farm anyway in tribute to her mother's dream. It is a huge undertaking, her husband helps out along with her sister, brother, their spouses and their children. Since she made it become a tax-free charitable organization, they have many volunteers that also love to come out and help as well. Hundreds of people come out to see the animals. They donate money to help feed and care for them. The Funny Farm has become very popular. I loved how each chapter of her book highlighted an animal story about a special animal or pair of bonded animals on her farm. It was very fun and heartwarming to read. Overall, this book was very well put together, it was packed with a full range of emotions, I just wanted to keep reading and not put it down. Her mom was a delightful, strong, hard-working person who gave her kids great, positive advice and upbringing against some pretty tough odds growing up and Laurie was a strong willed, good overall person because of her mother as well. What a great book, I highly recommend this one! I would like to thank #Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for my eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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I really don’t know where to start. This book touched my heart on so many levels. Being an animal lover with a son that works at a similar animal non-profit in California (STAT Save the Animals Today). This Tory takes you on a journey of a young girl, her mom and siblings. Through terror, heartbreak and love this story will fill your heart. I went to try to order it for the owner of the place my son works at but it will none available until 2022. So I will have to wait and send her it then. Must read

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Funny Farm is by far one of the best books I've read this summer and this year, Zakeski switches off with her memoir and all of "children" on her rescue farm in New Jersey. Her childhood was unconventional. Her father was a true SOB and after reading what he did to some of their animals, i hope he is rotting in hell. Laurie has a heart of gold. Sharing the stars of her far with readers was the highlight of my day. Chucky, the pukey dog, Adele, the princess chicken, and all the other wonderful animals were wonderful. I immediately followed Funny Farms Rescue on social media. Read this book for important lessons and to also know there are still good people in the world.

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Funny Farm by Laurie Zaleski This book made me laugh and cry. The tales of all the animals that were rescued were heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s hard to think of anyone treating animals so poorly, but it happens. Thank goodness there are people and organizations like the Funny Farm that help to rescue and rehabilitate even the toughest cases. 600 rescue animals seems like such a huge number, yet it’s only a small portion of the animals who need help. The author let’s us in on her emotions through her life which run the gamut of not eating meat ever again to crying on the floor after feeding a puppy every hour on the hour only to have it puke and have to start all over again. She also tells of her family life with abuse. Her Mother is front and center in this book and also front and center in the abuse she had to endure. I feel like I got to know her Mom through the kindness she showed to not only the animals, but the people they met along the way. Being civil even to a husband that not only was abusive, but also didn’t even acknowledge he had children later on. The little sayings from her Mom were hilarious. I think I’ll always remember, ‘The more you cry, the less you’ll pee’. Overall this was a wonderful story. If you love animals you will enjoy reading it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from St Martin’s Press through NetGalley exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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This memoir was very interesting. The stories about the animals living at the Funny Farm were heartwarming. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

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Wow, all I can say is wow. Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life With 600 Rescue Animals by Laurie Zaleski is the best book I’ve read this year. I absolutely loved it. The story is about Laurie growing up in an abusive household, being poor, and her hard working mother refusing to let it get any of them down. By accident, they started taking in animals that were mistreated, strays, and/or not wanted. In taking care of the animals, Laurie learns about life; good and bad. There are moments of tears, laughter, and all around good feelings reading this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone, but especially if your an animal lover and/or a survivor. I’m gonna have book hangover for a while from this one 😊 My review is voluntary and all comments and opinions expressed are my own.

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I was excited to receive an advance copy of Funny Farm from St. Martin’s Press as it’s been a longtime dream of mine to own land and rescue animals. I’m highly interested in the stories of others who are living the farm sanctuary life. Funny Farm did not disappoint, but it was so much more than the tale of an animal sanctuary. It was the page-turning story of Laurie’s mother, an amazing and determined woman who fled an abusive husband with nothing but her kids at a time when women didn’t have the mobility in society that they do today. The writing is superb and I often couldn’t put the book down, wanting to know what happened next. It’s a book that will stay with me for a long time. As for the Funny Farm, I hope to visit in person someday soon! I appreciated all of Laurie’s anecdotes about what life is really like with 600 rescue animals. It’s certainly not easy and there are hard truths to be considered, but the love and the lasting imprint she is making on the lives of the animals and the people who visit and volunteer make it seem like the effort is well worth the reward. Funny Farm is full of great insight, compassion, and heart and I highly recommend giving it a read. I believe the publishing date has been moved to February 22, 2022, so keep an eye out!

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This book was such an unexpected surprise. Based on the cover, I expected a heartwarming, even cute, read about a life in animal rescue. Because it's a memoir, I expected an interesting true story, but didn't necessarily expect great writing. That would have all been fine, but this book is so much more and so much better than that. The writing is excellent, descriptive and engaging. Sure, it's a story about who path to animal rescue, and just that story is conduit to the life of the interesting people that went to the Funny Farm to get help for animals. But it's also the story of a family with a strong mother, an abusive father; of survival and compassion. The author goes back and forth between the story of her life and bits and pieces of stories from the farm and in doing this strikes a great balance in the mood of the narrative. Great, inspiring story that I would love to hear in audio version as well. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a beautifully written memoir of triumph over abuse and the mother who grabbed her three children and ran. The author is a daughter of Annie McNulty. Laurie has written a tribute to her mother filled with admiration and respect while describing how the animal rescue sanctuary came to be. Coming from a privileged background, Laurie learns the depth of her ability to adapt to life in the shack by the pines. It’s a horrendous crash from the life they’d shared to one now of crushing deprivation. Her mother, a powerhouse of optimism and love, steered the children through those dark years while caring for the desperate animals that seemed to cross their paths. The author builds the story from the death of her mother, taking us back to the childhood that started the rescue to the Funny Farm that fulfilled her mother’s dream. The stories, both of human and animal, are deeply emotional. The overwhelming theme of the novel is not of abuse but love. This is a story that feeds the need to read. Sweet, inspiring, humbling, mixed with shots of humor, this is truly a must read—and one most heartily recommended.

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This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. In addition to the stories about the animals on a rescue farm in New Jersey, it's also a memoir of the woman who runs the farm. A woman whose life got off to a rough start with an abusive father. This is a heartfelt story. Zaleski isn’t a particularly talented writer. Her style is pretty basic. But the story she tells is real and engaging. After years of abuse, her mother finally leaves their father. Giving up a life of privilege, she moved into a shack with her kids. And then began rescuing a diverse group of animals. Not just dogs and cats, but goats, horses, pigs, chicken and cattle. It wasn’t an easy life but it was a fulfilling one for mother and kids alike. She was a role model for good and bad. Her horrible choice in men led Laurie to have a fear of commitment. But I loved her motto, “the more you cry, the less you pee.” I recommend this for every animal lover. It’s a reminder that everyone deserves a chance. My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

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I absolutely loved everything about this book! I loved learning about Laurie's life, and about her relationship with her mother. I also liked that she didn't gloss over the bad parts of her life, specifcially her relationship with her dad. Mostly what I liked though, was reading about the different stories of the Funny Farm animals. Laurie is great at providing funny quips, but is equally as great conveying her emotions about her family, and about the animals. I really want to visit the Funny Farm some day!

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This book is fantastic! Going back and forth between the past and the present, the humans and the animals will make you smile, laugh, cry, and every emotion in between. It was just a lovely read - so much, in fact, that I went on Facebook about halfway through to follow the farm's page!

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