" Just wanted to let you know what happened after I got my book, Misfits of Love.  I read it and then decided to gift it to my friend Mase, in North Carolina.  She had just lost, in a very unexpected and sudden way, her beloved horse.  I packed it up and mailed it out to her. She just called me and this is what she said: "I was so touched.  The writing is so poetic and the stories and photos are just beautiful.  I love her art.  I want to thank you for your thoughtfulness and for this beautiful book.  I am going to buy two more and give them for gifts because something this lovely should be shared.""

"With careful editing, I read parts of your book to my 6 year-old grandson for bedtime reading tonight. He was truly fascinated. I kept it safe but let him know these were adopted kids, some with big problems. He loved the names you've given the animals, and how funny and individual each one, in fact, is. Then he fell fast asleep, quite happy. " Ward S. California

Perhaps better than anything I'll ever see in The New York Times, this reviewer seems to really understand the essence of the book. This isn't just any reviewer-it is from a savvy reader who happens to be in 5th grade.

Dear Mrs. G,

Recently I have been reading a most amazing book.It is a collection of short stories, all of them true, written By Katherine Dunn of Apifera Farm.

This book Misfits of Love has no main character. In fact, the characters are mostly animals. There's no plot, story line or protagonist. What happens between one cover and another is purely soulful. The animals in these stories are amazing to think about, to wonder about. My favorite tales are "Hospice of a Lamb" and "Conversation with Old barn".

Mrs. G, I apologize if this is a short letter essay but this book is so powerful that my eyes are watering up reading it. My writing, though not nearly as powerful as Katherine's, is quite similar to hers. We think the same way about animals and their lives and passing. My favorite quote is,

"To say the souls is not a physical entity could be disproven by looking into Matilda's eyes."

I will explain who Matilda is later, but so powerful was that statement, I actually get teary just thinking about it.

Katherine shows a lot of similarities between the animals and humans around her. For example, when she took in an old goat named Guinnias, she would often talk to him and, as she did, she realized she was also speaking to her father who was dying several states away. I think it gave her comfort to have those conversations with someone, even it was an old goat.

Another example is Frankie, the Head Troll, a funny, bossy goat who arrived at the farm and immediately took charge of everything going on. Katherine's comments are that some animals–like people–"leave a bigger mark on one's daily life." Katherine said she could hear Frankie's voice in her head when she writes. Amazing to know that animals can have important voice when they don't speak at all. Or maybe it's that we don't listen?

Unfortunately, to truly understand the miracle of the book, you have to read it yourself. What you can understand without reading it is the impactful creatures that live or float along in our very real world. An example of this is Mother Matilda. She was originally kept as a brooding jenny, and then came to Apifera a neglected donkey. She is loved and cared for to this day.

Mrs. G, experiences with animals are not frequent, but are always incredible. I have a question for you: if you have ever experienced anything like the powerful connection I have made with my dog, Mistletoe? Please tell me if you have ever had that sort of a feeling, since I find it wonderful when humans and animals think together.

And that, Mrs. G, ends my essay. I hope that, although it may not have been as detailed as my others, you are curious about reading this book. I recommend it with all my heart.

Sincerely, Lili

"I found myself really studying them intently and looking at all the subtle nuances in marks and collage pieces. I love all the little dabs, + dashes in their coats, along with the flowers in their hair and around their neck. I think they are incredibly soulful and loving and refreshing. I can see why you won some awards! Also, I felt it was very clever the way you wove the tales of death and life together. To me, it made me feel much more grounded and strong about the aspect of loss.
Stephanie D., Georgia

I bought copies of 'Misfits of Love' for both my mother-in-law and my mother (wrapped so exquisitely, I must add), but it was my father who began absorbing my mother's copy on Christmas day. (I've attached a cell phone picture of him engaged!) He loved it, and had all sorts of questions about your animals and your storytelling. he is not internet active, nor does he typically read a great deal, so it was beautiful watching him get involved in your words and art. He is 81 now, but he retired as a production manager in a plastics plant after 35+ years about 18 years ago. (He's been doing woodworking and gardening since then, but he is, truly, a simple, kind man with a gift for storytelling; he just doesn't realize he has stories to tell.) We lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, and aside from his Italian immigrant parents raising him to garden and appreciate food in his native new jersey, he had never been around livestock or farm animals until my husband and I got goats in 2005. He's always enjoyed animal stories, but i had never seem him connect like he did with your book. He has also struggled with fears of death and with ongoing depression--and until reading a book he borrowed from me about reincarnation last year (I think 'seriously lapsed catholic' would be the best descriptor to insert here)-- he really did struggle daily with loss of life. He's seemed better, and he dug into 'misfits' with abandon! You are gifted.
Angelina Bellebuono, Georgia

I really struggled with the grief. I’d just about give anything to see them hug them hear their voices. Your journey and this book is so powerful and healing I wish I could’ve been creative in my grief but I floundered…adrift. I sometimes worry that regret, grief and bitterness are how I define myself. I am inspired by your words and art and so glad you decided to self publish. Your care and attention in sending this book is tangible it was almost like a sigh or hug the barely audible sounds of the barn and animals wind and wisdom and life and death…. – I love this book. Kristi R., California

Absolutely LOVE your new "Misfits of Love"...I fell asleep with it under my pillow last night and awoke with lovely memories I had dreamt about of your farm and its many family members, both current and past, they have made me smile all morning and reflect on the many people and animals that make life wonderful. Thank you with all my heart Katherine, for sharing your life with others, you can't possibly know how much your thoughts, words and illustrations mean to so many of us, please keep sharing, it means so much to those of us who aren't as artfully rich and skilled as yourself, but dream they might be one day, thank you always. Leslie L., Arizona

Katherine Dunn has done it again with this beautiful tribute to the misfit in all of us. In this gentle book, Ms. Dunn shares her story poetically weaving animals and people together with photos and artwork worthy of the finest gallery. She writes from her home at Apifera Farm, a magical place where older animals, often tossed aside late in life, are invited to live out their lives in the company of other such barnyard companions. Not a rescue, but an actual working farm, Ms. Dunn finds value in each "misfit" and has found a way to tell their stories that shows a depth of feeling without being sappy or depressing. She talks of the hard subjects we all face...loss and grief, and yet finds a way to lift the spirit. I absolutely love this book of misfits....and hope. Sharon P. Stanley, Virginia

Your wrapping is so perfect and wonderful. We need more Katherine Dunns in this world!! I have picked Misfits up many times but am dissolving into body-wrackin tears every time so haven't gotten very far. I have struggled with the loss of my parents these past several years as well, never dreamed it would hurt as it does. Your words touch me deeply, it is a very special work... Anne W., Pennsylvania

This is a beautiful book, deeply thoughtful. Your empathy is truly contagious, and the stories are well told and magnificently illustrated. Truly impressive.Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love, Oregon

I just received my "Misfits of Love" book this week. I was enchanted! From the whimsical wrapping to the illustrations to the stories to the beautifully realized whole of the book itself, you have made me very happy. I felt privileged to subscribe to your Kickstarter campaign and have privately cheered you on during this publishing process. How lovely to hold the result of your hard work and creativity in my hands! I have ordered two more books to give as gifts. Thank you for making it possible for me to give such a wonderful gift to some very special people in my life. Jane H. Oregon

Being an animal lover who is particularly fond of barnyard critters (even more than "regular" pets), I expected to love this book. And I was not disappointed at all. In fact, what surprised me was the depth and breadth of subject matter here. This is not your run-of-the-mill (though wonderful) story of an animal rescue. This book is magical.

Dunn presents thoughts on many difficult topics most of us try desperately to avoid discussing, yet all deal with at some point in life; and she does so through masterfully poetic conversations with some of the more poignant of the elderly and otherwise discarded beings who have graced Apifera Farm and her life.

Wonderfully, the voices of each wise being are unique and so very true to the individual's species. All domesticated species have plenty to share with us, if we just learn how to listen. Katherine Dunn gives the reader of glimpse of the moving and life-altering moments we humans can share in the company of our fellow beings.

If, like me, you love animals, but also have a penchant for deep thought and pondering why we humans do some of the cruel things we do; or, also like me, get special satisfaction from looking at life through the viewpoint of other species, you MUST read this book. You'll cry for sure. I sobbed many times--deep, whole body, gasping weeping, in fact, which overtakes me whenever I read the story of the donkey Giacomo--even just now, glancing at the book to ensure I spelled his name right.

But they are the tears of someone so immensely grateful to have known similar wise and gentle souls, and the gut-wrenching experience of holding that lovely soul as they pass away. To paraphrase Milne in the now ubiquitous e-posters of Winnie the Pooh, "How lucky I am to have had something to miss so much."

Thankfully, Dunn's lilting, meandering voice softens the pains and makes it bearable through sharing the beauty and wisdom she has been so fortunate to now miss so much.

If I were queen, "Misfits of Love" would be required reading for everyone.
Virginia Bowen, Texas