Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book #44: Fabookulous November 26, 2010

Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen

Book description:

“The life of a good dog is like the life of a good person, only shorter and more compressed,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anna Quindlen about her beloved black Labrador retriever, Beau. With her trademark wisdom and humor, Quindlen reflects on how her life has unfolded in tandem with Beau’s, and on the lessons she’s learned by watching him: to roll with the punches, to take things as they come, to measure herself not in terms of the past or the future but of the present, to raise her nose in the air from time to time and, at least metaphorically, holler, “I smell bacon!”

Of the dog that once possessed a catcher’s mitt of a mouth, Quindlen reminisces, “There came a time when a scrap thrown in his direction usually bounced unseen off his head. Yet put a pork roast in the oven, and the guy still breathed as audibly as an obscene caller. The eyes and ears may have gone, but the nose was eternal. And the tail. The tail still wagged, albeit at half-staff. When it stops, I thought more than once, then we’ll know.”

Heartening and bittersweet, Good Dog. Stay. honors the life of a cherished and loyal friend and offers us a valuable lesson on our four-legged family members: Sometimes an old dog can teach us new tricks.

Earlier this week, while at a lunch with co-workers, someone asked how many books I had left in this year’s 52-book challenge. When I told them and said I needed short books so I could read a few during the long holiday weekend (in between the turkey-induced naps), two of them said Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen. The next day, I was lent a copy and it jumped to the top of my “power mode finish” for the year.

I was excited to read this book, and if I’m completely honest, it was for the sole reason that it was a quick read. I’ve realized over this year that you tend to get what you expect when it comes to books. I don’t know if it’s because you’ve already made up your mind or what, but this one was exactly what I expected: a short book.

I’ve read memoirs on dogs before, as well as fiction about dogs and their meaning to our lives, and they’ve all left me satisfied and smiling. While I’m sure Beau was a very special dog, it’s not displayed often in this short read. The book is full of pictures (they are all very cute!) but when reading about a dog, one can appreciate him more when one can read about the dog’s special personality. (Think Oogy or A Dog’s Purpose)

That being said, this was cute, VERY quick to read (think one-sitting actually) yet left me wanting so much more.

2.5/5 stars

Fabookulous

 

Book #42: Fabookulous November 17, 2010

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Book description:

All dogs go to heaven…unless they have unfinished business here on Earth.

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of eight-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures, Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders- will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on Earth is born with a purpose.

I’ve read a lot of books. That is obvious considering this year’s challenge and the purpose of this blog. But A Dog’s Purpose has shot immediately to my all time Top Five list of favorite books. I usually shy away from animal stories for the sole reason that I don’t want to read about anything sad happening to an animal. But this book took me on a heartwarming journey that left my heart smiling and me wanting more of it!

W. Bruce Cameron writes in a beautiful way and crafts a story of a dog’s life from the dog’s point of view. (Reminiscient of The Art of Racing in the Rain.) It’s hard not to fall in love with Bailey from the very beginning, laughing out loud at his thoughts on human behavior and interaction. Bailey is such a good dog and his bond with Ethan is instant. This is an endearing, witty, insightful, and wonderfully told story. While there are twists and turns and Bailey is reborn, I loved the author’s imagination the entire time and did not want this book to end. I don’t usually say that about a book simply because I get so excited I can’t wait to see what happens next. But I fell in love with Bailey and I wanted to spend more and more time with him!

Surprisingly deep, there are more layers to this book than I expected and I loved every minute of it. Everything that happens to Bailey has a purpose and often I found myself with happy tears and smiling. The ending was done beautifully and will leave the reader more than satisfied.

For all dog lovers, I suggest you get a copy of this book today and cuddle up with your loved pups while you read it! This book will make you wonder what your dogs think and really want to love them even more. I cannot imagine a life without them. This is a book I’ll be keeping (which is rare; typical protocol is to read them then swap them either on PaperBackSwap or give to someone else.) But this one I know I’ll read again and want to share with friends and family. 🙂

For more information on the book, or to nominate your pup in the Dog of the Week contest on the author’s webpage, visit www.adogspurpose.com. Stay tuned for an author spotlight on W. Bruce Cameron!

5/5 stars, without a doubt

Fabookulous