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home : features : book review May 24, 2016

7/29/2012 6:00:00 AM
Book Review: This platypus can kick butt
Publishers Weekly Best Selling Books Week of July 27, 2012
Hardcover Fiction

1. Fallen Angel, Daniel Silva

2. I, Michael Bennett, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

3. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn;

4. Shadow of Night, Deborah E Harkness

5. Backfire, Catherine Coulter

Hardcover Non-Fiction

1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed

2. Year Up: The Pioneering Program That Teaches Young Adults Real Skills for Real Jobs-With Real Success, Gerald Chertavian

3. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

4. Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, Edward Klein

5. Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything, Michael Saylor

Clark Isaacs
KDM contributor

Albert of Adelaide by Howard L. Anderson; ISBN: 978-1-455-50962-0; Hardcover; 240 pages; $24.99; Published July 2012; Fiction; Published by Twelve Books, a division of HBGUSA.

Albert of Adelaide" by Howard L. Anderson is very reminiscent of "Animal Farm" by George Orwell, which was published in 1945. The main characters are animals that live their parts on center stage though the travails of lives are vastly different.

 Albert is a platypus who escapes from a zoo in Adelaide searching for "Old Australia." He is a delightful character who discovers he can be more than an object to be stared at in a cage. Carefully he travels along railroad tracks and crosses deserts, always questing for his dream like Don Quixote.

The immediate question about this book is whether it's strictly for children. The answer? No. This novel has messages embedded throughout which are definitely adult in nature.

Differences in animals demonstrate individuality. There are bandicoots, kangaroos and various other species, but there is only one platypus - a duck-billed male platypus with poisonous spurs who can take down an enemy. Albert learns he can fight and win. He obtains self-confidence so that he can become a leader.

Conflict is what normally keeps interest in many books and "Albert of Adelaide" has plenty. A posse goes into the desert in search of Albert for crimes he allegedly committed. The posse poisons water holes as part of the chase, using harmful methods but reasoning that the end justifies the means.

The animals in the tale have been humanized - they wear clothes, and some are quite persnickety about their appearance.  They continually need to have their outfits laundered. Albert, amusingly, carries a backpack in which he has tins of sardines given him by one of his acquaintances. Albert does not like sardines, but takes them anyway to give to others.

"Animal Farm" is a classic, recognized as one of the top 100 books of all time. "Albert of Adelaide" may not be in that category, but reading it is worthwhile.

Using animals to convey messages is a great way to explore the changes necessary in society. We all search for utopia. Most never find it, but those who do realize that accepting life as you live it will enrich your relationship with others.

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