Book Review by Aarene Storms: Misunderstood: why the humble rat may be your best pet ever

Friday, July 14, 2017

Misunderstood: why the humble rat may be your best pet ever
by Rachel Toor

Easier to keep in apartments than a dog. Less litter box mess than a cat. And significantly less expensive than a horse. What's not to love?

This is Rachel Toor's argument for pet rats. She also claims that "fancy rats" (a.k.a. tame rats, as opposed to wild rats which are not fancy in color or personality) are excellent companions and splendid pets for families.

As a former rat-girl who loved pet rats called "Justin" and "Nicodemus" after the characters in Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, I do not disagree with these allegations at all. I could probably even add a few lines to the list of ratty virtues extolled in the book. Rats are awesome pets: cute, funny, smart, and exceptionally good company.

However, this book is not really a petition for rat support. It's more of a memoir of the author, which includes some stories about rats, dogs, boyfriends, and a mom who (eventually) dies of cancer.

Sadly, I would rather have read a book about the righteousness of rats. This book was purchased by KCLS as a teen non-fiction book, but I have trouble conceiving of a teen who would enjoy reading it -- it's not inappropriate, but rather not of general interest to teen readers.

Recommended (but not enthusiastically) for adult readers who enjoy rambling memoirs. Some of the rat photos, including the front cover illustration, are very charming.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true.  --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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