Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen

Good Dog Stay 3
Good Dog. Stay.

by
Anna Quindlen

Rating:

Good Dog. Stay. is a short book of sentimental reflections about the relationships between dogs and their human families and how families face the inevitable end-of-life decisions of their beloved pets. Dog lovers will undoubtedly identify with Quindlen’s observations about a dog’s role in family life. She includes many photographs of dogs with happy expressions and soulful eyes, and all readers will recognize the unconditional love that is represented in these faces.

I enjoyed reading this book because her message is a nice warm one. For example, she remarks about the ability of dogs to wag their tails even when they are old and sick, how simple pleasures make them happy even at the end of their lives. Quindlen also discusses the important role dogs play in people’s lives. “The job so many dogs really perform is to allow us to project our feelings upon them, to assume they are excited or downhearted or lonely when we are.” In addition, like a best friend, they offer “companionship without question or criticism.”

Quindlen also raises a nice point about how the paths of our lives and those of our children are uncertain, but the life of a dog is without mystery. “With few exceptions, he will be who he has always been. His routine will be unvarying and his pleasures will be predictable – a pond, a squirrel, a bone, a nap in the sun.” True!

I think the author’s main objective in writing Good Dog. Stay., however, is to state her opinion about end-of-life decisions, for dogs and humans. She writes, “With people, it’s assumed you’ll do everything; with animals you have the luxury of doing the right thing.” She wishes it were the same for people. After a difficult decision to put down their dog, Beau, she writes, “I was almost exultant at the love we had managed to muster for that old dog, and at the thought that someday, if I was very, very lucky, I might have a death as simple and serene as this one, with these same people around me.” So in the end, Quindlen has written a simple book and inserted her own opinion about a controversial issue.

All in all, this is a very quick read with both light and heavy ideas.

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What’s up next? Good Dog. Stay., by Anna Quindlen

Good Dog Stay 3Good Dog. Stay.
by
Anna Quindlen

I just started reading Good Dog. Stay. In it, Quindlen reflects on the life of her black Labrador retriever, Beau. She begins her story near the bittersweet end of Beau’s life. I don’t own a dog, but I’m already touched by her descriptions of the mutual love and loyalty between a dog and its owner.

After finishing Still Life with Bread Crumbs, I wanted to read something else by Quindlen. My blogging friend, Tracy Ewens recommended Good Dog. Stay. I know she’s a dog lover and if you visit her blog, From the Laundry Room and check out her recent post, Fur, you will see why!

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

the art of racingThe Art of Racing in the Rain
by
Garth Stein

Rating:

I loved this book. It’s a touching family story told from an original point of view.  Denny Swift is the main character, a husband and father – a family man.  His dog, Enzo, tells Denny’s story and gives us simple insights into love, misunderstanding, pain, and loss. He cleverly narrates a sad story and leaves the reader feeling all right about the very difficult job of saying goodbye to the people (and pets) we love. Enzo is a true hero in the way he influences and communicates with Denny, Eve and his family.

You don’t have to know anything about driving a race car or even be a NASCAR fan to enjoy the connection Stein makes between being a champion behind the wheel and taking charge of your own destiny.

This is a fast read with a solid feel-good ending.

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