The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals by Becky Mandelbaum is a big emotional journey. I loved the idea of the sanctuary and hoped for both Mona the mother who ran it and her daughter who ran away from it.
I could understand both of them. Mona had a bad childhood and realized that she could get unconditional love from animals. She could relate to them with love and patience and could never harm any animal. But the job of taking care of the dogs, cats , horses and other animals was too much for one person. The sanctuary getting by on meager donations, little help and she or anyone could not do what she did without losing time for herself, time and comfort her daughter, A labor of love was becoming a monster.
Her daughter, Ariel, remembered the early days before her father left the family and was in pain because her mother was there for her less and less. Ariel wanted a mother and her father and friends at school. Ariel felt that her mother did not love her as much as the animals. She felt abandoned. Yet Ariel loved animals too.
The above is one part of the complex story, there is much more, humor, violence, sorrow, forgiveness. This book meant so much to me. I am an animal lover too and a long time ago I to turn down a gift of love of dog I would have loved dearly but I knew that I we had move after our retirement and I would not be able afford care for it. When I turned the offer of a very large and beautiful puppy, my heart broke because the woman who wanted to give me the puppy was exactly like Mona, she loved dogs more than people and would never understand. I love both animals and humans like Ariel.
I received an Advanced copy of this book from the Publisher as a win from FirstReads but that in no way made a difference in my thoughts or feelings in this review.