Everyone thinks they know the best way. The best way to raise children, the best way to raise pets, the best way to do everything. I've heard a lot ofEveryone thinks they know the best way. The best way to raise children, the best way to raise pets, the best way to do everything. I've heard a lot of dog owners very pompously tell me, for example, that they only give their dogs raw food because dogs don't have kibble in the wild. People also have very strong opinions on child rearing. Everything from breastfeeding to spanking to letting your child sleep in bed with you seems to be controversial, and many parents have absolutely no qualms about telling you that the way they do it is right and the way you do it is wrong. Most of the time, though, the person being told didn't ask for the opinion of the person doing the telling.
When you write a book - an autobiographical book - you are, essentially, asking for your reader's opinion. Therefore, I don't feel bad about saying that this author is a nutcase. She is doing no favors for herself or her child or for her dogs.
1. She can't leave her dog at doggie daycare, because he's too well housebroken and he won't pee. Also, he doesn't want to play with the other dogs. She can't leave him alone in her apartment all day, so she quits her job.
2. The dog goes to restaurants with her, and sits at the table, in a chair, like a person. I think this is meant to be cute, but it isn't.
3. The first dog dies when she is pregnant with her first child. She knows she shouldn't get a puppy, but she does anyway.
4. The new dog is a girl, and the author says there is "some debate" on when it is best to spay. What debate? If you're going to spay, you do it before the dog's first heat. It significantly reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, according to my vet. Where is she getting her information from? Anyway, she doesn't spay the dog soon enough and the dog, who sleeps in their bed, gets her period. They don't want to dog to bleed all over their bed, so they put her in a crate in the living room. A crate the dog has NEVER used before. Of course the dog cries all night, so she ends up DUCT TAPING A DIAPER ON THE DOG and letting it in the bed with her.
5. She decides to volunteer with a Boston Terrier rescue, but the woman who runs the rescue says she can't foster a dog because she has a toddler, and it isn't safe since they don't know how the dogs would be with children. But then there is a doggie emergency, and she gets a foster dog. The foster dog, apparently, is the devil and bites everyone (this seems to be a theme - all her dogs bite. I asked around to some people I know with Boston Terriers and they say it is not an aggressive breed. So why do all her dogs bite? Could it be they need training?). When the dog bites her daughter, she finally decides that the dog has to go.
6. Lack of training is a problem. She talks about how she brought a trainer in to work with her first dog, and the trainer brought some little training treats. But then the trainer saw a plate with all these little treats (including deli meat) sitting out. She asks the author what that is, and the reply is "his snack tray." The trainer points out that she can't train a dog using treats when he has his own buffet.
7. The separation anxiety isn't just a problem with the dogs. When she takes her child to pre-K for the first time, the child cries. So she stays in the hall outside the child's classroom for the entire day. And this happens again, and again, and again. Cut that umbilical cord already!
8. The daughter does not want the dogs around. Probably because she senses that mommy loves the dogs more than her. She and her husband agree that they shouldn't foster any more dogs, because it's too upsetting to the daughter, but that only lasts a few months and then they're back to rescuing the dogs.
Look. I love my dog. I talk to her like I expect her to talk back. I let her sleep on my bed. I stopped giving her people food when she started getting too fat because an extra 10 lbs on her is very dangerous to her health. But dogs also need discipline. They need to know that you are the leader of their pack. This woman was clearly way too indulgent with both her dogs and her child.
Also, I know this is a book about her dogs. But it would have been nice for a little information to fill in the gaps. When we first meet the author, she is single and lonely. Then, suddenly, she is married and pregnant. She's working part time, then she quits, then she's suddenly a published writer. How did these things happen?
Do you think you have been wronged? Do you think your life has been hard? Are you hanging on to anger, hurt, resentment, pain? Believe me, what you haDo you think you have been wronged? Do you think your life has been hard? Are you hanging on to anger, hurt, resentment, pain? Believe me, what you have gone through is nothing compared to what this man has endured. And yet he was able to forgive his tormentors and let go of the pain and fear his experiences caused. In WWII after his plane crashed, Olympic miler Louis Zamperini and two crewmates floated on a raft in the Pacific for 47 days, subsisting on rainwater, raw bird meat, and albatross blood before being captured by the Japanese. Held as a POW for two years and three months, Zamperini experienced every kind of degradation imaginable. He was brutally beaten and humiliated, made to scoop feces with his bare hands and do pushups over a latrine well. He suffered unbelievable cruelty at the hands of the Japanese guards, specifically Mutushiro Wantanabe, aka The Bird. After the war ended, Louis drank away his nightmares and became a person he didn't recognize. At the insistence of his wife, Louis attended a Billy Graham crusade where his life was irrevocably changed. He was instantly delivered from his alcoholism and nightmares. Forgiveness replaced hate and Louis eventually traveled to Japan and forgave his tormentors in person. This is an absolutely extraordinary story of the miracle of salvation and the release of bondage that comes from experiencing the love of Christ, but it doesn't come across as preachy or holier than thou. The story focuses mainly on the experience of war and as a POW. This is a side of war you don't read about in the history books. The religiosity is handled very matter-of-factly as just another of Zamperini's experience. This is a must-read for all, regardless of religious belief. ...more
A deeply sad, and also frustrating account of the life and death of Chris McCandless, whose body was found in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderneA deeply sad, and also frustrating account of the life and death of Chris McCandless, whose body was found in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. Krakauer is quick to defend his subject, arguing against the common opinion that McCandless was either too ignorant or too arrogant to attempt his Alaskan adventure. Krakauer believes that McCandless made only one or two relatively innocent mistakes which lead to his death, but he fails to convince me. McCandless WAS either too ignorant or too arrogant (or too something else). He railed against materialism and conformity so much that he went too far to the other extreme. His whole plan was to try and survive ill-prepared, because it wasn't enough of an adventure for him to take precautions. THAT was his mistake, Krakauer. Not eating moldy seeds....more
Sometimes beautiful, sometimes harrowing, but always intriguing, this novel asks questions that can't be easily answered: Can sixty years of good deedSometimes beautiful, sometimes harrowing, but always intriguing, this novel asks questions that can't be easily answered: Can sixty years of good deeds atone for a past in which a person committed the worst crimes imaginable? Can people truly change who they are, and if they do, does it matter anymore who they were? Can a person be excused from wrongdoing if they really believed it was right? Is there anything you wouldn't forgive the people you love the most?...more
Though it was very well-written, the book didn't really get interesting to me until Amir's return to Afghanistan two-thirds of the way in. I much prefThough it was very well-written, the book didn't really get interesting to me until Amir's return to Afghanistan two-thirds of the way in. I much preferred A Thousand Splendid Suns....more
**spoiler alert** While I enjoyed this novel, I didn't think it was as brilliant as some of my friends did. Maybe it's because I read it with the poin**spoiler alert** While I enjoyed this novel, I didn't think it was as brilliant as some of my friends did. Maybe it's because I read it with the point of view of someone in 2009, and without a true understanding of the conventions of 1908, but I found some of the characters' reactions to be strange.
When Lucy dumped Cecil, and told him how arrogant and shallow and pretentious he was, I didn't think it was believable that he'd immediately turn over a new leaf and thank her for going off on him. I think someone like Cecil would get defensive first, and maybe think about what she said later.
Also, when Lucy finally realized her feelings for George, why was her family angry with her? Mr. Emerson kept saying Lucy "deceived" them but really Lucy only deceived herself. She didn't understand how she felt about George. It's not like she knew she loved him and told everyone she didn't. And her family didn't like Cecil, so why should they be upset that she broke off the engagement? Why should her family not approve of her marrying George, when they liked him? I just didn't get it....more
If it's possible to like the writing and still find it very dull, that's how I felt about this book. I know it's a book about waiting, but that didn'tIf it's possible to like the writing and still find it very dull, that's how I felt about this book. I know it's a book about waiting, but that didn't really excite me. It seems like a book where a whole lot of nothing happens except at the very beginning and at the very end. Meh....more
This isn't really my style of book, but it was entertaining enough. The characters weren't likeable, the prose was unsophisticated, and the historicalThis isn't really my style of book, but it was entertaining enough. The characters weren't likeable, the prose was unsophisticated, and the historical accuracy was questionable at best, but it still kept me interested enough to finish its 600+ pages in just a few days....more
Reading a copy of a book that was previously read by someone else always adds another layer to the experience. This book has been sitting on my bookshReading a copy of a book that was previously read by someone else always adds another layer to the experience. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for more than twenty years. Its pages are yellowed with age, and although it was never a library book, it has that library book smell. It was my brother's, as is evidenced by the huge "KALSEY" printed on the top of the book, and "ADAM KALSEY" on the title page. He must have read it in high school, or, possibly, Jr. High. All throughout the book, there are passages highlighted and very helpful notes in the margin, such as "Description of town" next to a description of the town and "Atticus a lawyer" next to the introduction of Atticus. As I read the book, I liked to imagine a teenage Adam, all spiky hair and braces, with his pink (!) highlighter and pen, making notes in the margin because some teacher told him to. None of the notes have any kind of insight into how my brother felt about the book, but I think it's super cool that when I posted on Facebook that I was reading it, my brother's youngest son commented that he loved that book. It feels, almost, like a full circle somehow. Had I known the boys would be reading this book already, I would have given them their father's copy. Perhaps I still should.
My high school was not the best: We didn't have many arts programs, we didn't win at sports, there weren't a lot of school-sponsored extracurricular activities. And we never read To Kill a Mockingbird. Year after year, I'd see this copy sitting on the book shelf in the house where I grew up, but I never read it because I felt like the ship had sailed somehow. Like, if I hadn't read it in high school, I'd already missed out. I know that's silly, but I just can't explain it. And yet I still packed it up and took it with me among my own books when I moved out. It has followed me from apartment to apartment, from house to house, always quietly sitting on the shelf, biding its time, knowing I'd get to it when I was ready.
I'm not sure why my brother left it behind when he got married and moved out. Maybe he forgot it. Maybe he didn't want it. Or maybe it hid itself from his view, saving itself for me, knowing that someday there would be a day when I would rediscover it and finally understand why everyone loves it so....more