Funny Farm is the best memoir I’ve read this year. Laurie Zaleski lived in a beautiful house and had a pretty bedroom and lots of toys until her parents split up. Her mother Annie moved them to a shack in the woods and struggled just to put food on the table. But then Annie brought home a dog–and then another. Eventually, chickens and horses joined the family. Pretty soon people were bringing them stray animals. And that was the early beginnings of the Funny Farm Animal Rescue. Zaleski tells a layered and fascinating story of how her mother had the courage to leave an abusive, but well-to-do and popular husband, and start life over with her children and many, many animals. The stories of the animals are interspersed throughout. Some chapters deal with Laurie’s family trials and her father’s vindictive revenge, while others tell beautiful stories of animals who became part of her family. But it is also a story of Zaleski’s life and how she succeeded in business, and then how she made The Funny Farm an official animal rescue.
This is everything you would want in a memoir–completely honest, fascinating, and heroic in more ways than one. It is easy to see in Zaleski’s life how she learned from the courage of her mother and was not afraid to take risks in business and in life. The love for the animals shines through on every page, and each animal rescue story touches the heart. The honesty is always there, whether Laurie is talking about her cruel father or her mother’s bad taste in men. There is humor, grief, love, and shock in these pages. I recommend everyone read the story of the Funny Farm. I guarantee an inspiring experience, and maybe a few tears. I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LAURIE ZALESKI is the founder of the Funny Farm, a charitable organization located in Mizpah, New Jersey. Since 2000, the farm has welcomed all kinds of rescue animals. Laurie is also the founder, president and CEO of Art-Z Graphics. She has been named a New Jersey Heartland Hero, is listed in the 2019 Who’s Who of Professional Women, and has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for her work to save animals and educate the public about animal abuse.