Most helpful critical review
41 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Sweet and funny, but no real thinking required.
on 14 August 2002
"When Elephants Weep" is an enjoyable read despite being misrepresented by its cover details. If you're looking for an analysis of whether animals are capable of emotions, you'd better look elsewhere, but if you're after a series of amusing and touching animal anecdotes, you're in the right place.
The author makes no real attempt to objectively analyse animals' emotional states or capabilities and doesn't need to: he states in the foreword that that animals can experience emotion is "obvious", and that he is a vegetarian on the basis that he could never eat anything with eyes, since the eyes are too reproachful.
So I should clarify: had the book been represented as a collection of animal stories in the mould of Gerald Durrell, this would be a five star read: a cracking holiday book by a real animal lover that'll keep you laughing, crying and turning the pages. As a scientific analysis, even as pop science (and with apologies to the author), this is laughable: lacking basic evidence for its arguments, and scrupulously avoiding objectivity by taking a biased point of view and stating its conclusions in the foreword.
Fun, but disappointingly shallow.