Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: My Gentle Barn

Title:  My Gentle Barn
Subtitle:  Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope
Author:  Ellie Laks, with Nomi Isak
Genre:  Personal Memoir
Publisher:  Crown Publishing, a division of Random House
Number of Pages:  266
My Rating:  4.5 out of 5

It was a no-brainer for me to choose this book from a menu of multiple choices offered by the publisher. Because I love animals and can't bear to see them mistreated, and because my husband and I adopted an older child who had already lived through a difficult and dysfunctional first eight years, it seemed like a perfect fit. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this woman's story.

The journey from the author's loving but lonely childhood in which her deep love for animals was misunderstood and under-appreciated to the eventual founding of The Gentle Barn where both abused animals and at-risk children can find physical and emotional healing is richly detailed. It is unlikely I'll forget the dogs, cows, horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, etc. who came into her life through a variety of ways. In fact, I wanted to drop everything and fly out to California just to meet the author and her four-legged family face-to-face and to participate in their daily care. And apparently many people spend their vacations doing just that.

Ms. Laks faced many challenges along the way to fulfilling her dream of providing a sanctuary for unwanted or unhealthy animals, including a troubled marriage, a devastating fire, and a nasty neighbor. But she was also blessed and assisted along the way by an ever-growing number of volunteers and celebrities who championed her cause.  Today, The Gentle Barn is a thriving venture thanks to a woman with the determination to make her dream a reality.

The only small criticism I have about this refreshing and inspiring read is the author's continued comments about her parents' lack of support throughout her life. Mentioning it once or twice is important to the story, but more than that seems unnecessary and awkward.

Learn more about the author or The Gentle Barn at

Disclaimer:  I received this book from for review.

1 comment:

  1. I love books where I can immerse myself in situations in which I know I will never get to experience. That's why I love the Little House series, like you. One of my favorites is Waters on a Starry Night by Elisabeth Ogilvie. I so feel like I am living on an island in Maine, that my feet feel frostbitten. My Gentle Barn looks like a great read.