The Animal in You by Roy Feinson

The Animal in You: Discover Your Animal Type and Unlock the Secrets of Your Personality
Roy Feinson
St. Martin’s Griffin, 1998
184 pages

I didn’t go into this book expecting it to be some serious text on animal totemism or symbolism. However, I was surprised at what I did find. The author has studied zoology and it shows, given his insight into animal behavior, which puts it head and shoulders above some of the more traditional totem animal dictionaries out there. Where other books are spiritually-oriented, this one is more of a light-hearted personality test, just for the fun of it.

The author devised a fairly complex but easy to use system for determining your animal personality: Answer a questionnaire with numbered answers, and use the patterns of the numbers to look up in an extensive chart in the back which animals are most likely to resemble your personality. It takes less than ten minutes to answer the questions, look things up, and read about the animals (which makes it fun for groups).

The interpretations of the various animals’ behavior is pretty biased toward anthropomorphization; the weasel personality, for example, is seen as shifty and not very trustworthy, which is human interpretation of the way weasels hunt out of necessity (and evolution). However, this is nicely balanced out by the author’s thorough research into each animal’s behavior and habitat, so it isn’t merely a bestiary of human moral attached to nonhuman animals.

I’d recommend it as a light-hearted take on animal symbolism, but nothing to take to heart any more than any casual personality test. (Oh, and my recommended animal personalities? Otter, Bat, and Snake.)

Four pawprints out of five.

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