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To Dance with the White Dog
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To Dance with the White Dog

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  2,879 Ratings  ·  316 Reviews
A moving story of love, grief, and coming to terms with death, this is the story of elderly Sam Peek, who is mourning the death of his beloved wife when a mysterious white dog appears.
Hardcover, 239 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Peachtree Publishers
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Justin Haynes
TO DANCE WITH THE WHITE DOG by Terry Kay is one of those books that I know I'll continue to read every few years for the rest of my life. All that he can fit into less than two hundred pages leaves me and every other reader of this book breathless and crying a mix of tears from joy and sadness.

TO DANCE WITH THE WHITE DOG primarily concerns itself with an elderly man, Sam Peek, who is a man in his early eighties that has recently suffered the loss of his wife of fifty-seven years, Cora. Once a st
May 20, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing
Terry Kay is a very gifted story teller; I saw the made for TV movie years ago but I am so glad that I read the book. The story is more complex than the movie could convey; dog lovers will love this book. It is based on Terry Kay's parents and is a remarkable account of two people who loved each other. The sentences are simple but elegant and I could see each character in my head including the white dog.
Dec 13, 2012 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, poignant tale about a man finishing the remainder of his well-lived life without his wife of 57 years. As someone who lost both my parents in my early and late teens, I never got to experience them as an adult. I tend to enjoy stories that explore the relationships between adult children and their elderly parents.
This is a novel that begs to be read again and again, with the heartache and hope being just as vivid, just as visceral each time.
Apr 04, 2013 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Profoundly Beautiful Short Novel Filled With Insights About Life, Loss, Mystery And Hope! Not To Be Missed!

To Dance With The White Dog is one of the most beautifully written, poignant, tender, memorable, albeit at times heartbraking, books I've read in quite some time. While short in length, the book, to quote the Los Angeles Times, "moves like a loving eulogy to old age...and is a tender celebration of life, made poignant by death so close at hand."

I won't describe the book's plot
Nov 16, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading this book. It is about family caring with all the silliness and loveliness that accompanies it. The author does a good job of writing believably. Here's a sample:

"...they would praise the departed by reciting (and embellishing) some small, special story out of memory. The dead had been good, or the dead had been mischievous or thrifty or strong or shy or outrageous or brave or jovial or any of countless other attributes that, given forgiveness for shortcomings, made for a likeabl
May 17, 2010 Carole rated it it was amazing
I had seen the Hallmark series production of Terry Kay's "To Dance With the White Dog" when it was on TV in the early '90s and remember being very inspired by the story; however, I had never read the book. I met the author at a writer's conference I attended in Athens, Georgia in 2003 and purchased an autographed copy. I'm so happy that I had the chance to be re-introduced to this tender story. As well as being inspirational, this is one of the best character-driven novels I've ever read. Terry ...more
Doree Burt
Mar 15, 2009 Doree Burt rated it really liked it
The whole dog/wife concept was a bit odd, but I still liked this book a lot. I thought it was interesting that the story was based on true happenings in the author's father's life. And I especially liked the interplay between the family members. I like that these books chosen for my church book club are ones that stretch my book choices and make me think about different things and situations. I hope that I am the type of old person that my family cares for and about, like the children in this st ...more
May 02, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: staff-pick
This slim book is just chock-full of wisdom and poignancy. Sam Peek has survived his wife of 57 years, but now his children are concerned about whether he can still care for himself. Into Sam's life walks a mysterious white dog, who then becomes his companion, even though no one besides Sam has actually seen the dog. This book may move you to tears -- it did me -- and the sweet story will stay with you long after you finish.
Jean Labrador
Jan 13, 2012 Jean Labrador rated it it was amazing
This book is definitely a Five Star book. And like the white dog dances into the protagonist's life after his wife of many years dies, this book danced into my life at a time when I needed to be enchanted and lifted up by a tale. I fell in love with the character who goes on a journey; who couldn't empathize with him as he encounters trouble and puzzlement on his adventure? This is simply a delightful book.
Todd Cannon
Nov 09, 2013 Todd Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My wife really likes Hallmark Hall of Fame movies and I recognized this title from one of the movies that she watched a few years ago. I have not seen the movie so I cannot compare it to the book.

This was a quick read but that might have to do partly with the fact that I started it close to the weekend and had more time for reading. The main character is Sam Peek and the story begins as his wife dies. Sam is in his 80's himself so he has had a long life with his wife.

Throughout the book we learn
Jun 07, 2012 Shannon rated it it was amazing
I finished this book several days ago, and I'm still thinking about it. (That's significant for me; I tend to walk away from books, even good ones, and forget them almost instantly!)

I'm not going to give away plot points, but I'll say that there is a strong supernatural element to the book. Interestingly (and it's a rare thing when this happens in a supernatural-type book), the mystery is clearly secondary to the characters and relationships. The mystery is even left dangling a little at the end
A lovely little tale about growing older and recovering after loss. An old man, now alone after the death of his beloved wife, adjusts to his life. And during this time, he is befriended by a white dog, that at first, no one else can see. But he and the dog develop a wonderful understanding, and the old man doesn't let a little thing like age stop him from living. The discussions that the old man's daughters had while worrying about him in a widowed state made me smile, for kids never seem to r ...more
Aug 18, 2012 papasteve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I suggest you not read this book. It's about old people when they get old. You know how old people are. You won't like this book. It's about families dealing with old people--fretting and fussing and worrying and calling each other all the time. You won't like reading about that, I guarantee it. Stubborn old people; you know how they are. No use reading about them. Driving slow down the road. Muttering about stuff you've already heard and don't care about. You know how it is. Why read some story ...more
Lynne Spreen
Jan 03, 2016 Lynne Spreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: midlife, boomer-lit
A lovely book, based in rural Tennessee in the mid-1970s. The main character, Sam Peek, is 81, frail, smart, and independent. He is surrounded by his grown kids and grandkids-a loving family. The story begins with the hours immediately after Cora, Sam's wife, dies. It's based on something that happened with the author's parents, and you could call it magical realism or maybe it was reality at its most magical.

What is it like to be a newly widowed 81-year-old man in frail health? You might think
Jan 18, 2015 Patrick rated it liked it
Review by Patrick:

To be honest, I only read this book based off of my wife's suggestion. I wouldn't have picked out this book to read by myself, but I trusted her judgement and put this on my list. I read it, but it just wasn't my thing.

It started off down right depressing. I mean Sam's long loved wife had just died. Then it continues telling the story of this old man as he lives without her companionship.

The story did have a ring of truth to it. It felt like this was a real story. I could see t
Westminster Library
I loved this sweet story of adult children caring for their recently widowed father…. most likely because I’m in the midst of this myself and the humor in the story is good for the soul! Sweet, charming, beautiful relationships. I especially enjoyed the stubborn hard headed father and his reply to his over protective daughter after she tries to make him promise not to take such risks in everyday life – “Well I guess you’re going to have to worry. I know what I can do and what I can’t. If you wan ...more
Sep 07, 2012 Beth rated it it was ok
I read this because I got it for a dollar for the Kindle and because I remember seeing the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie when I was a kid; I remember it distinctly because it was the first movie to touch me enough to bring me to tears. Either the movie was a lot better, or my taste has improved significantly in the past twenty years. (Oh, let it be the latter, please!)
Jul 11, 2009 Ed rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ed by: Gary Carden
Already fussing with the idea of leaving my engineering career to try my hand at writing when I read this book (on Gary Carden's recommendation), I was startled to discover that Terry Kay lived just down the street. I called him. We discussed writing. In a nutshell, his advice to me was: don't quit your day job.
May 24, 2009 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
This was a wonderful book - sad, funny, heartwarming but not saccharine. The relationships among Sam Peek and his children felt very authentic. And Kay has a fine ear - all the dialogue sounds absolutely real. Based on the life of the author's father. I liked it so much that after I finished it, I went right back and skimmed it a second time. Great read.
Sep 13, 2014 Perri rated it really liked it

A quiet, tender story of an older man dealing with the death of his wife, his concerned children, and a mysterious white dog who enters his life. In the afterward, the author says the story is based on the truth from his father. I believe him.
Olivia Cunning
Jun 21, 2012 Olivia Cunning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the beginning and the end, but the middle really dragged for me. Still, it's a sweet story that made me cry several times. If you like emotional reads, I think you'll enjoy this one.
Oct 24, 2012 Jami rated it really liked it
I read this book several years ago, and I had forgotten about it until a friend relayed a story that reminded me of this. I remember really enjoying this book!
May 31, 2014 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The truth in a fiction format

I loved this book about aging and family and the grief a long term spouse feels after being widowed. Sad but also true and filled with love.
DonnaJo Jo Pallini
Jun 29, 2016 DonnaJo Jo Pallini rated it it was amazing
Loved loved loved this book! I could relate to it and it touched every emotion! I laughed, cried, smiled, and totally understood Mr. Peek and the children and Neelie! A wonderful tale of family!
Aug 02, 2014 Tamsen rated it did not like it
1.5 stars. Tamsen doesn't like it when people talk in the third person. Tamsen thought Neelie was fucking annoying.
Mar 10, 2011 Beckynovacek rated it really liked it
Quick read. Thought provoking, haunting, a little too close to home with my parents aging.
Fonda Quinn
Jun 23, 2013 Fonda Quinn rated it really liked it
Very good story about a man dealing with life after his wife dies.
Aug 28, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it
A moving, heart-warming story about grief and the ending years of a man's life.
Samantha Doscher
Feb 13, 2017 Samantha Doscher rated it it was ok
Could not get into this book, kind of a waste of time. Not very interesting.
Sep 29, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Tender and touching, To Dance with the White Dog gave me much to think about. We should all be lucky enough to be graced with a white dog when it is our turn.
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Play Book Tag: To Dance With the White Dog - Terry Kay - 4 stars 2 11 Apr 08, 2016 10:38AM  
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TERRY KAY, a 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, is the author of The Book of Marie, recently released by Mercer University Press. Kay has been a sports writer and film/theater reviewer (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), a public relations executive, and a corporate officer. He is the author of nine other published novels, including To Dance with the White Dog, The Valley of Light, T ...more
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