Buy Used
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Name All the Animals Paperback – 7 Mar 2005

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, 7 Mar 2005
£0.01 £0.01
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; New edition edition (7 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743252349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743252348
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,263,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

This is a therapy book, for first-time author Alison Smith, but more importantly for anyone who has ever grieved. But that’s only half of it. This is a book that offers so much more--from its elegant, dignified prose to its mature insights into sibling loss, adolescence, forbidden love and family relationships.

Largely set in the two and a half years after 15-year-old Alison loses her cherished brother Roy in an horrific car crash--the truth of which is kept from her by a protective community--it charts the grieving process of a family rent asunder by a loss so sudden and brutal it knocks them into a strange, half-way dimension somewhere between the dead and the living.

While Alison¹s deeply religious father and fiercely capable mother find their own ways of dealing with the death of their beloved 18-year-old boy--just weeks before he is due to leave for college--their only remaining child is left to navigate her own way through a maze of emotions, all the while growing from a serious, intelligent teenager into a woman.

Alison¹s increasingly erratic sleeping, eating and mourning rituals, combined with an intense love affair with a fellow pupil at her Catholic high school, send her dangerously close to the edge of life.

Throughout, her writing is compelling in its honesty. Her descriptions of the long nights following the accident, when her family roam the empty rooms of their home searching--but never quite finding--the comfort of sleep, are heart-wrenching, but eloquently told. There’s no mushy sentiment, no lecturing, no point-scoring, no judging. Alison avoids cliches, allowing the reader to experience her pain with no feeling of voyeurism.

After the accident, Alison becomes known in her neighbourhood as "the girl who lost her brother". Thanks to Name All the Animals--which took six years and 18 drafts to complete and caused her to live off the generosity of friends--Alison Smith is now a fine writer. Watch out for her next one.--Carey Green


'Genuinely moving, but also as finely crafted as any novel. [Smith's] first book but not, I sincerely hope, her last' -- The Bookseller - Editor's Choice

'Poignant, bizarre, resonant and uplifting' -- Glen Duncan

'[A] quite beautiful consciousness of the world, of love, loss, and the unfathomable bond between human beings, dead and alive' -- TIME OUT

'[Smith] is a beautiful writer, funny and wise, and she has made an unusually powerful book out of her grief' -- Entertainment Weekly --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Name All the Animals" won't be to everyone's taste, but I found this memoir to be both moving and meaningful. It is worth pointing out that the book is as much about the author's coming to terms with her lesbianism as it is about the tragic loss of her brother to an horrific car crash when she is only a young teenager and her brother barely an adult; those who are more interested in reading about moving on from grief and less about a young woman realising she likes other women, might therefore find this is not the book for them.

This book struck a chord with me and a number of years after reading it, certain details and passages of "Name All the Animals" have stayed with me. So too has the quality of Smith's writing. It is fluid and lyrical and yet by turns also raw and visceral too, as Smith shows the devastation wrought on her family by the loss they have suffered, and the painful reality that she must make her own way in the world and be true to herself, even though finding the strength to do this might mean hurting her grieving parents even further.

All-in-all, I found this to be a powerful and haunting story of heartbreaking loss and difficult self-realisation.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I found this novel a little mundane at times, and it wasn't a book I felt compelled to keep picking up. However I did feel that the author captured the closeness of a brother and sister very well and I enjoyed the descriptions of their growing up, building forts and secret places.

Smith descibes Roy in the typical way that a bereaved person remembers fondly a lost loved one. Happy moments and memories that make us smile.

She also touches on the different way people cope (or don't!) and the different emotions we experience, from the bewildering early days of grief right through to resignation and acceptance.

Alison, who is 15 when her brother dies has been brought up in a very religious family and feels God leaves along with her brother on the day he dies. This was dealt with well in general, but I have to confess to understanding anyone wanting to escape the stiffling Catholicism shown by her parents and the nuns at school...yet sadly without any of them really understanding what she was going through.

Her struggle with this did however result in the poignant ending.
3 Comments One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 59 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attention fiction readers, you will LOVE this!! 12 Feb. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a true story, which is why it's described as a memoir. But it could just as easily have been published as a novel. It has all the character development, suspense, narrative arc, and beautiful writing of the best literary fiction. So don't dismiss it if you're not a big memoir fan. It should appeal to fiction and nonfiction readers equally.
But regardless of how it's categorized, I could NOT put this book down. I read it every second I could and couldn't bear to be away from it when I was at work. The grief made my heart break, but the love story, and Alison's success in figuring out who she is, just made my heart swell. It's such a gorgeous, moving portrait of a family, both in grief and in love. It's told through the 15-year-old eyes of the author, and she just GETS adolescence. I was sent spiralling back to my own memories of high school, and the unique, electric, unforgettable experience of first love. It's one of those unforgettable books that only come along every so often. I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling account of a family's loss 27 April 2004
By Reviewer Dr. Beth - Published on
Format: Hardcover
First time author Allison Smith has written an engrossing memoir that reads like a coming-of-age novel, as she describes childhood pastimes, family vacations, struggles in school, her first kiss, etc. However, superimposed over all of these activities and events is the shadow of her older brother's sudden death when she was 15 years old. Smith shares her own response to the loss of Roy, a brother with whom she was so close that they shared a common nickname, Alroy. At the same time, Smith skillfully weaves in stories of her family's past, an effective literary tool which serves to illuminate the different reactions of each family member to Roy's death. The narrative does not always relate to Roy directly, but although Smith devotes much of her book to her experiences in school, friendship, and love, the specter of Roy is always present.

Smith has done a masterful job of characterizing the many different emotions which compromise grief; her book is not just about sadness but about anger, confusion, numbness, guilt, embarrassment, and more. The teenaged Allison is a poignant figure who can't help but to ignite compassion, not only in those around her but also in the present-day reader. My one disappointment about this book is that the reader is told little about Allison's future. Although Smith includes an epilogue which takes place 13 years after Roy's death, these final pages add little to Allison's story, leaving the reader to wonder about her health, her relationships, and her life in general. Overall, however, this book is a remarkable acheivement for Smith, who clearly has the makings of a novelist.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Girlhood interrupted 13 Mar. 2004
By constantreader - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Alison Smith not lost her only brother to a car accident at age 15, she also lost the luxury of working through the typical adolescent struggles on her own time, with her parents' full attention. Denial and a stiff-upper-lip attitude are the strategies her parents choose to get through the long grieving period -- which happens to coincide with her own first steps toward adulthood.
Smith gets her period the day before her brother dies. She meets her first love a few months later, goes to her first boy-girl drinking party, grows apart from her prim-and-proper best friend and tries to walk a narrow line between fitting in at school and letting people know what (and whom) she really cares about.
Her parents, who hold things together with devout religious observance, extreme hiking and clucking nervously (but ineffectually) over their only remaining child, fail to notice (or are afraid to mention) her anorexia, even when she drops to 85 pounds. They have only the haziest, uneasy grasp of the tumultuous romantic relationship she's involved in and don't even mention it when their daughter fails to comb her hair for days and leaves for school with her sweater inside out. Smith's parents work so hard just to remain functional after such an unexpected loss that the family becomes dysfunctional -- failing to protect her even as they indulge in overprotective behavior.
She's a subtle enough writer to portray her ambivalence about some of her convent-school friends -- the theatrical Susanna, who wears opera gloves to school (because they're not covered by the uniform code)is seen as fun to watch but insensitive when she presses Smith to use a slumber-party Ouija board to contact her late brother.
The nuns who run the girls' school also are far from stock characters. As a graduate of another convent school (operated by a different religious order), I was surprised and proud to see someone describing how much the best of these women offered their students -- shrewd, kind, intuitive and in their own way, unconventional, the nuns in this book emerge as individuals, not Sister Stereotype.
Smith's writing is deceptively simple, not calling attention to itself, except in half-buried metaphors -- for instance, an account of the game of "ghost baseball" she and her doomed brother played ends with him stepping off from third base, calling "Ghost man heading home."
Like another reviewer here, I missed knowing more about Smith's life after the main part of the memoir, which ends in the summer after her junior year in high school. I wanted to know how she had become a writer, how she had integrated the loss of the brother into her adult life (does she tell people about him now, outside the context of this book?) and how she came to determine her adult sexual orientation (since her affair with another girl -- handled with extreme delicacy -- is a major part of the book.
Perhaps she is saving those themes for another memoir. I hope so.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best memoirs I have read 9 Feb. 2004
By lesliecolo - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this book and can't wait until it is my turn to select the book for my book group to read. This will definitely be my choice -- there is so much to discuss in it. It is a book of despair and hope, family, friends and society's expectations, and above all, love and isolation. I found it very much more uplifting than The Lovely Bones, to which it will inevitably be compared.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 28 Jan. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Like an earlier reviewer, I too read this book in one sitting. Unlike that reviewer, I found the writing remarkable. Readers will want to keep picking it up, not so much because the book is "gripping", but because it is inviting - you will just want to spend more time with her.
The book is a moving memoir that reads like a novel. Ms. Smith has seamlessly woven together pieces of her story in a manner reminiscent of a new friend describing her family to you over a period of time - memories that may seem disjointed and out of focus at first begin to take shape until, in the end, the reader realizes a relationship has been formed.
Yes, religion is the backbone of this young girl's family but readers are not beaten over the head with it, it simply is. "Hot button" issues are treated with the subtlety of adolesence and thankfully, never labeled. They too are just part of growing up. I don't think this book was ever meant to address how to deal with the painful aftermath of the death of a sibling. Rather it is a tribute to childhood and growing up in spite of it all.
Recommendation? Read it and decide for yourself!
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know