There are many books about our broken food production cycle and the ethics of agribusiness, but such books rarely provide an intimate look at the creatures that suffer within the system. Not so with Jenny Brown's memoir, The Lucky Ones, written with the help of Gretchen Primack. Brown is clearly a fighter: she lost a leg to bone cancer at the age of 10 and rejected her conservative Southern Baptist upbringing to become a vegan activist with a job in television and film. Her true calling, however, is in fighting for those who have no voice: farm animals. With her husband, Brown started the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization that allows animals originally intended for slaughter or other commercial enterprises to live out their days in peace.
The Lucky Ones traces Brown's path to animal activism from the special bond she shared with her cat, Boogie, to her work as an undercover filmmaker exposing abuse in Texas stockyards to the creation of the Woodstock sanctuary. Her personal recollections are interwoven with stories that trace the lives of animals she has saved. Readers will love Albie, a three-legged goat who escaped a live-kill market in New York City and learned to walk with a prosthetic device. Or Brandy, an affable nine-year-old rooster who loves canned vegetarian dog food and applesauce. Or Patsy and Judy, pig-sisters with voracious appetites and a love of belly rubs. They will also appreciate Brown's unapologetic feistiness in her call for compassion for the farm animals she loves. --Roni K. Devlin, owner, Literary Life Bookstore