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EllaMc

"So it goes."

Ella Mc's book blog. Brand new 2018

Currently reading

House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski
Progress: 250/736 pages

A feel-good story about how when we're lost, all we need is to allow ourselves to be found

One Good Dog - Susan  Wilson, Fred Berman, Rick Adamson The Cat Who Went to Paris - Peter Gethers

A feel-good story about how when we're lost, all we need is to allow ourselves to be found.

 

Watching Milo and Otis nearly killed me at age 30. I've learned my lesson since, though I did have one unfortunate incident. I asked the recommender about The Cat Who Went to Paris -- possibly my favorite travelling animal read ever -- only to arrive in the station, have some woman glance at my book and tell me Norton the cat had recently passed away. I bawled openly in a taxi, rode to my destination and stayed in bed for the first couple days of my vacation crying and rereading the amazing tales of Norton the-Now-Sainted Cat. I would have remained there, but vacation companions were furious with me. It's not just fictional or written animals. I adopted a hard-core tomcat to whom I constantly apologize. He bites me; I suggest couples therapy.

 

It was with some trepidation that I asked booklikes' own Audio Book Junkie if this was going to be a "dangerous" animal story. I was warned of dog fighting, though it happens off the page. I dove in anyway. After all, I told myself, I'm an old woman. I've lost not only pets but several very important humans including my partner; I am submersed in the field of abuse, incest, violence and trauma. I'm tough. Hah!

 

I tell you all of this to say I'm an easy touch. I over-relate to stories with anthropomorphized animals. Critically, this doesn't deserve a great review, but I loved it for exactly what it was. Your mileage will probably vary.

 

The basics: two lost, clueless, angry, violent, and male beings: one human, one canine. Both has paid the price for his own machismo without realizing how much it has cost. Worlds collide; redemption is possible. ~fin~

 

There are some nice caveats added to the formula. We get decent, somewhat nuanced peripheral nods to human differences, homelessness, fatherhood, family, and how early pain can form a hard exterior that is nearly impossible to break through without some kind of force. Also respect was given to normally marginalized or caricatured groups. I would have liked the world of dog fighting to be treated more fully, but it's the backstory and not the main event. We do get the man's backstory, but he's so much harder to like, perhaps we need it.

 

Removing the hard outer shell is a lesson it takes both man and dog a while to learn. We hear both characters' rationalizations for bad behavior along the way. At times they are infuriating even while adorable or funny. Adam March is a jerk at the beginning. Chance is a dog who never had a chance. Both can be so dangerous to others they need to be separated.

 

It's funny how much easier it is to allow for a dog's violent or bad behavior than it is for a person with a very similar background who has learned to protect himself in exactly the same way. It's hard to give humans the breaks we give even non-talking animals.

 

Neither is perfect or "finished growing" at the end, but they've come so far, and allowed themselves to become vulnerable at least to each other. It's a heartwarming story that reminds us even the most volatile animals can be reached with some understanding, boundaries, decency, openness and enough Chance(s).