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Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders

Beautiful Joe (1893)

by Marshall Saunders

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Beautiful Joe is the story about an abused dog who finally finds love and a home. It is very emotional and hard in places for a dog lover to read, but it teaches an important lesson in kindness towards animals. It is told from the dog's point of view, which makes a real impression. ( )
  aleader | Apr 11, 2014 |
I had previously read this book as a child, and was looking forward to reading it again.

Boy was I disappointed.

"Beautiful Joe" has a good premise (abused and mutilated dog finds kind home), but the human characters are too preachy, and the entire book is too preachy, all about how we should be kind to dumb animals. While I agree we should be kind to animals, that's the entire premise of the book, to the detriment of what could have been a very good story. The situations are contrived and feel "fake".

If you've read "Black Beauty", it's similar in some ways, but I have reread "Black Beauty" and not felt it was so preachy that I wanted to put it down. I did with "Beautiful Joe".

I have no plans to read this book again, and probably will give it to the local thrift store. ( )
  fuzzi | Feb 11, 2012 |
I read this book when I was in sixth grade, and it made more of an impression on me than most other books. I know the casual attitude I had to animal suffering was utterly changed by reading this book, and on the farm we saw a lot of animal suffering. To the extent I could after reading this book I tried to avoid such suffering by animals, especially by our dog and our cats. ( )
  Schmerguls | Aug 24, 2011 |
If you ever felt hard towards an animal or pet, this book will change and soften your heart.

I love the "stories within stories" writing style. I appreciate the practical and non-judgmental approach to the issues of animal rights and humane hunting, slaughter, and livestock farming that the story presented.

This is an excellent book. ( )
  yogiclarebear | Aug 31, 2010 |
This is a re-read, of course. I think I first read Beautiful Joe well over 50 years ago. My only beef with Beautiful Joe, reading it now as an adult, might be its rather heavy-handed preaching about cruelty to animals and about the need for kindess in general. Consider, for example, this gentle diatribe from a traveler Miss Laura encounters on the train: "Think of the cattle on the western plains. Choked with thirst in summer and starved and frozen in winter. Dehorned and goaded on to trains and steamers. Tossed about and wounded and suffering on voyages. Many of them dying and being thrown into the sea. Others landed sick and frightened. Some of them slaughtered on docks and wharves to keep them from dropping dead in their tracks. What kind of food does their flesh make? It's rank poison. Three of my family have died of cancer. I never eat meat." Maybe some of this "preaching" can be explained by the book's publisher, The American Baptist Publication Society. But no matter, really. It's still a good book, even for this old grey-haired geezer. If you like dogs and if you like a good story, then you'll like this book. And if your kids or grandkids should read it and like it, then dig out those old Jim Kjelgaard Big Red books, or Albert Payson Terhune's Sunnybank collie books, or maybe some of Jack O'Brien's Silver Chief books or James Oliver Curwood's Kazan and Baree. They're all still good reads, fifty, sixty or a hundred years later. Marshall Saunders probably still had that "new" book about Black Beauty freshly in mind when this book was written. It's a canine version of BB, really. But derivative doesn't necessarily mean second rate. This book was first rate in 1893 and it still is today. Read it to your kids/grandkids, or give it to them to read themselves. And tell them about your own excitement when you first read it. ( )
1 vote TimBazzett | Apr 26, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Although it was a good enlightenment on the cruelty of animals it was too exhortative. The story line was clean and well written but many paragraphs could have been excluded and the story would've still had the same effect; take care of your animals and they will return the favor in love and adoration. And those who treat their animals with cruelty and selfishness should be punished.
added by SilentVoice | editSilent Voice (May 16, 2010)
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"To George Thorndike Angell President of the American Humane Education Society The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Parent American Band of Mercy 19 Milk St., Boston This Book is Respectfully Dedicated by the Author"
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My name is Beautiful Joe, and I am a brown dog of medium size.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307122255, Hardcover)

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:37 -0400)

A dog describes being mistreated by a cruel master but then later being taken in by a kind family.

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