From bestselling author of She’s Not There, New York Times opinion columnist, and human rights activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, a memoir of the transformative power of loving dogs.
This is a book about dogs: the love we have for them, and the way that love helps us understand the people we have been.
It’s in the love of dogs, and my love for them, that I can best now take the measure of the child I once was, and the bottomless, unfathomable desires that once haunted me.
There are times when it is hard for me to fully remember that love, which was once so fragile, and so fierce. Sometimes it seems to fade before me, like breath on a mirror.
But I remember the dogs.
In her New York Times opinion column, Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote about her relationship with her beloved dog Indigo, and her wise, funny, heartbreaking column went viral. In Good Boy, Boylan explores what should be the simplest topic in the world, but never is: finding and giving love.
Good Boy is a universal account of a remarkable story: showing how a young boy became a middle-aged woman—accompanied at seven crucial moments of growth and transformation by seven memorable dogs. “Everything I know about love,” she writes, “I learned from dogs.” Their love enables us pull off what seem like impossible feats: to find our way home when we are lost, to live our lives with humor and courage, and above all, to best become our true selves.
I was so happy to get an ARC of this book through BookishFirst, and firstly, thank you for it in exchange for my honest opinion.
The concept of using her dogs as a timeline for a memoir was beyond ingenious and I loved it! Though I did like it, there were a few times where the dogs really couldn’t be tied to the time period of her life, still, I really enjoyed hearing about each of the dogs. On that note though, despite her wanting to write this while weaving her dogs in, I did at times did not feel her connection to the dogs, they were more like a chronological guiding point at times, this isn’t true for every dog though.
Also, I loved how she talks about how men may give dogs this unassuming amount of affection because they feel that it’s something that masculinity doesn’t look down on, reading about her dad and the dogs definitely got me emotional.
One thing that was a little confusing was the diverging from the timeline, it hopped and skipped about before returning and that could be a bit dizzying.
To kinda give an example, say she starts off talking about her second dog, Penny, AKA Sausage, and she starts off in that time period and talking about getting the dog but before finishing telling the story of, say, getting Sausage, she’s talking about Sausage being an old dog and skipped ahead a few years with a different story and then comes back to the first story at some point. Some point being the point where I may or may not have lost track of that first story. This is an example I’ve put together with the various ‘skips.’
That can really hinder the enjoyment of the story as it pulls you out, but, it doesn’t make it impossible to, I still wanted to know all the stories, just maybe in a better order.
Reading of her life from the beginning until now was a real treat, I loved her experiences as ‘Maddy’ [what her children call her] and how their relationship with her was loving but full of its own trials.
The stories were entertaining and had me chuckling, the love between her and those she writes about is clear and the memoir was a really fun read. I wouldn’t hesitate to read her previous memoirs.
Three cups of coffee from me, and I would love to pass this own to an #OwnVoices Reviewer and if you would like this book you may feel free to comment if you wish or you can contact me through my site contact page.
2 replies on “Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, A Memoir ARC Review”
This looks like an interesting way to write a memoir. I think the commentary on men showing dogs more affection because it’s socially acceptable is spot on and it’s one I hadn’t considered before.
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Same, I loved that she pointed it out and it made me really think on it afterwards
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