Review: Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals by Laurie Zaleski

☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

Laurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie’s dream. But from girlhood, Laurie was determined to make the dream come true. Thirty years later as a successful businesswoman, she did it, buying a 15-acre farm deep in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She was planning to relocate Annie and her caravan of ragtag rescues–horses and goats, dogs and cats, chickens and pigs–when Annie died, just two weeks before moving day. In her heartbreak, Laurie resolved to make her mother’s dream her own. In 2001, she established the Funny Farm Animal Rescue outside Mays Landing, New Jersey. Today, she carries on Annie’s mission to save abused and neglected animals.

Funny Farm is Laurie’s story: of promises kept, dreams fulfilled, and animals lost and found. It’s the story of Annie McNulty, who fled a nightmarish marriage with few skills, no money and no resources, dragging three kids behind her, and accumulating hundreds of cast-off animals on the way. And lastly, it’s the story of the brave, incredible, and adorable animals that were rescued. 



My Thoughts:

Funny Farm by Laurie Zaleski is a heart-wrenching and heart-warming memoir. Whether you love memoirs or just love animals, this book is a compelling read. Ms. Zaleski tells her family’s story by alternating between the story of their lives and those of the animals they ultimately rescue. Funny Farm was a cute family name for the crazy household that was filled with all sorts of castoffs and misfits. Funny Farm eventually becomes the name of the farm that Ms. Zaleski buys for her mother so that she can properly house all the rescue animals she takes in. Ultimately, Laurie becomes the keeper of the farm and the animals.

My heart was broken while reading Laurie’s story. Her difficult childhood, was filled with love from her mother and siblings as well as hardship and hunger. Her mother’s fantastic outlook and attitude clearly carry the family through a lot of rough times. Her compassion isn’t reserved just for her children. She took in animals and people who needed help in their escape from neglect or abuse. To read of Laurie’s ultimate success, both professionally and personally, was sweet and satisfying. The stories of the animals to whom she give refuge are equally compelling. 

Funny Farm is a real farm that is operated as a nonprofit; you can check out their good works, get involved or donate by visiting their website:

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 acknowledgements for her work to save animals and educate the public about animal abuse.

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