Book Review: A Handful of Happiness, Massimo Vachetta

Handful of happiness

Subtitled Ninna, the tiny hedgehog with a big heart, this is a very touching and moving story, with a great title and a beautiful cover. Whilst this isn’t a literary masterpiece, by any means, it is a candid and – I found – profoundly emotionally affecting tale.

Handful of happiness
Massimo Vachetta with one of his hedgehogs.

Massimo Vachetta is a vet, for whom caring for hedgehogs becomes a purpose in life that brings joy and healing. We meet many characters, both human and animal. Most of the latter are, naturally, ‘hedgies’; I was moved to tears many times by Massimo’s heartfelt stories of tending to ill or wounded hedgehogs.

Handful of happiness
Aah… how unutterably sweet!

Through his newfound passion/vocation, he came to set up a hedgehog rescue care centre, named after his first prickly patient, Ninna. I absolutely adored this book. Not, as I already said above, as a literary work, but as a beautiful and moving slice of life. Living with other non-human animals – I’ve nearly always had a cat – is a strange and wonderfully enriching thing.

Handful of happiness
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.

At just under 200 pages, ghost-written in an easy going fairly informal style by Italian journalist Antonella Tomaselli, this is a fun and quick/easy read. But be warned, if you’re of a sentimental animal loving weepy sort, as I am, you might prefer to read this in the privacy of your own home. Moving, cathartic, and inspirational. Fab!

I fully intend to make our garden a haven for these fabulous little cuties. Not only are they wonderful creatures, but they eat slugs, the bane of the gardener and veg-grower!

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