Seriously Mum, What's an Alpaca?

Seriously Mum, What's an Alpaca?: An Adventure in the Frying Pan of Spain - Alan Parks

Alan (author) and Lorna Parks move from Britain to Spain to retire and raise alpacas. They are prepared for nothing about the experience.


This is a sweet, amusing little memoir. I enjoyed reading it. Although the alpacas aren't the main focus of the story, anybody who's contemplating getting into raising any sort of large animal ought to read it!


Of particular note:

The decision to publish the book without any photos and instead ask the reader to purchase an entire other "book" of snapshots with captions is well calculated to irritate the reader (at least this one). Yes, it's true the photos aren't expensive, and I surmise that the decision was made in the interest of keeping digital delivery charges down. However, black and white, low-resolution snapshots could have been included with the text for a modest increase in file size. From what I saw in the preview of the photos, they aren't professional quality images that are going to suffer from display at low resolution. And the story would have been much enhanced by a few photos of the farm, the animals, etc.


What Went Well:

  • Realistic level of drama: not downplayed, but not over the top
  • Chapter intros listing the current animal count


Even Better If:

  • A little more introspection and interpretation - less "thing A happened. Then B happened. Thing C happened. We were happy. Thing D happened." etc.
  • More details about the alpacas
  • A few photos were included