Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is
a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing
collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections
(A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one
Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.
Publisher: Author House
Publisher: Author House
In discussing the social function of literature I have often said that non fiction makes us aware of social problems but fiction makes us care about social problems. Statistics about growing homelessness for example, concern us, but a story about a homeless individual grabs our attention and creating fictional stories that put the reader into the hearts and minds of homeless characters creates the kind of empathy that can generate the passion required to change sad circumstances and unfair realities.
In Consequences, Sasha Cervantes blends into her fictional narrative the shocking real facts of slaughterhouse cruelties and makes readers care with moving descriptions of the conscious feelings and subconscious nightmares of her characters as they interact with beloved pets and other animals. Realizing where their food comes from and how it gets to be food, Leslee and her daughter Kaylee determine to take a stand and stop eating meat. Faced with the same facts, her husband and son become angry and defensive about their habits, even as they experience deep hidden misgivings about some of their own macho friends. These differences threaten not only the family unity but old friendships as well. At this point the story is carried primarily by dialogue wherein the author demonstrates a skill for creating authentic diverse voices. Then the author blends another ingredient into the mix: fable. The departure of the animals, whether wild, farm raised, or domestic pets, is a fable much like the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden or the Tower of Babel, a magical story that carries a message open to future interpretation. People have no choice but to understand what a planet without animals would be like and of course how each individual reacts to this lesson says a lot about that person.
Readers already passionate about animal rights and rescue will of course appreciate this book but I recommend it as well to readers who have not taken the rights of animals as seriously, who say that human beings have enough problems already without worrying about the mistreatment of animals. What this book demonstrates at the emotional level as well as argues at the intellectual level, is that we are all in this together, those who mistreat animals for fun and profit will also mistreat other human beings for fun and profit and people capable of love and respect for animals are more capable of love and respect for other human beings.
Lastly I would say this: human beings are not the only carnivorous species and everyone dies eventually. We know about Native hunters who respected their prey, and in fact prayed for permission to kill and then again to give thanks to the animal who gave its life so that the hunter’s tribe could be fed, clothed and sheltered. I do not believe that is evil. But when souls that feel pain and fear and do suffer are recycled again and again through bodies that are not allowed to be exercised and enjoyed but simply fattened up to be eaten, when this cruelty is perpetrated on millions of suffering souls, that is indeed evil. So I can only hope that this deeply felt and skillfully written book will cause more readers to care about this particularly disturbing social problem. I thank the author for writing it.