Spirituality and religion have a long history of using animals in their mythology and ritualistic worship. Popular culture has delightful stories such as “The Golden Compass” which portray spirit animals as powerful guardians. There’s the Year of the Ox, Year of the Snake, Year of the Scorpion and many more. Each of those animals brings a thought of strength, wit or agility to the table when they enter the mind. What if you could choose this animal? Would you take a beast that brought you great powers, or an insect that gifted you with speed and stealth? The options and benefits with what you could choose are nearly endless.


There could be some bad spirit animals out there, though. What if you didn’t get to choose and your spirit animal ended up being something that’s a little less…romantic, should we say? What if your spirit animal was pretty much a species that ends up being the butt of all jokes in the animal world? What if your spirit animal was a sloth, and there was nothing that you could do about it? Your super powers would not really exist from a spiritual vessel that took form as that beast. If anything, that would slow you down and burden you long before it would provide any benefits to your daily life.


“You Are Sloth!” by Steve Lowe attacks exactly this scenario, with you (the reader) as the tale’s protagonist. A bored and working-from-home freelance editor, you receive an email that’s obvious junk and mistakenly open it during a drunken stupor. Something in the attachment on this email transforms you after you click it. While hung over the following morning, you suddenly discover that your hands are claws and your skin is fur. The rest of the story plays out from your perspective. As a sloth, which you later figure out is your spirit animal, you attempt several tasks of daily life with much difficulty. Eating seems to be the worst though, as every food available to humans forces you to have liquid bowel movements that destroy your simple city apartment.


You do end up going on a great adventure as your spirit animal with your eccentric neighbors from your apartment building, but it involves a perverted scenario linked to a series of “zoo themed” phone sex requests that you accidentally get from a close match to your personal phone number in a sex line advertisement. I don’t want to say too much, but the end “fight scene” in your adventure involves a group of brain-washed men that you’ve managed to liberate via ESP screwing a computer-hacker to death while you view it in sloth form with a pack of dogs that you freed from the pound. That’s not exaggerated. That was just the best that I could do to try and describe one of that many places that the book leads you in one sentence.


So maybe that whole “spirit animal” concept that’s constantly fed to us through culture and spirituality isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Maybe spirit animals are really all of our worst personality traits brought to life. Think about it! If that were true we would probably all be sloths, weasels and rats. Steve Lowe paints the picture of this world, and makes an interesting case for how people would react to their transformation into whom they really are among their soul mates in the animal kingdom.


This is a quick read, only about 100-150 pages. Worth the purchase, and at the very least will have you laughing throughout the pages as you discover the hilarious and awkward elements that exist in the daily life of an urban sloth.


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Ando Ehlers | 
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