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Call me a nerd, but this is one of the most fascinating books about animals I’ve ever read. In Pests, author Bethany Brookshire discusses animals we call “pests”, including rats, pigeons, and snakes, and analyzes how and why society considers them a nuisance.
Pests quickly grabbed my attention with interesting facts and hilarious quotes, including one about an 8-foot python in someone’s pants. I’m serious about that quote, but you need to read the book for all the context!
My favorite parts of this book is the author’s connection to societal norms and social justice issues. For example, in the section on rats, Brookshire talks about how rats reside in areas where waste (their food source) is prevalent, services are non-existent, and infrastructure is outdated or missing altogether. Those areas typically coincide with lower-income areas where wealthier communities dump their waste and ignore residents who complain or raise concerns. And then we blame low-income residents. My favorite quote: “Rats are disgusting, because humans are disgusting”. And our view on rats is a reflection on how we treat one another. This section of the book was very insightful and had many connections to environmental justice, which I loved reading about.
I liked hearing the author’s in-depth acknowledgement of Indigenous communities and how our thoughts on pests, including coyotes, differs from theirs in some cases, but we ignore their needs. Animals we consider pests and hunt for sport were and are still critical parts of their culture, customs, and ecosystem.
If you’re looking for a science read that’s understandable and not overly technical, I HIGHLY recommend this one. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)