Stephanie's Reviews > You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness

You Had Me at Woof by Julie Klam
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's review
Feb 16, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read from February 16 to 22, 2012

This book reads like a long email or a Christmas letter, and it's written with about the same amount of skill as an average rendering of the latter. There are quite a few emails copy-and-pasted into the book, in fact. I really can't fathom why Julie Klam was ever hired by the big-name magazines that she's written for, or why people think she's a "funny" writer. Just because you write about funny things doesn't make you a funny writer. Maybe it's just that i prefer a more witty or tongue-in-cheek type of humor.

As has been said already by many reviewers, the stories are at times cute and at other times heartbreaking, but not in the way that Marley and Me was heartbreaking. John Grogan is actually a skilled writer and he managed to make the natural death of his dog seem powerful and deeply important, whereas Klam glosses over the unfortunate stories of her dogs in a way that makes your jaw drop but doesn't really reach into your heart. I just didn't feel that she conveyed anything to me; the book is supposed to be about how dogs taught her about life, but she fails, for example, to explain how exactly her first dog Otto taught her how to be a good wife. She just claims that he did so and doesn't elaborate.

I was also bothered while reading this book by the so-called "dog expert" author's total lack of ability or effort to train her dogs. And people wonder why so many dogs end up in shelters! It's because they're untrained. I wish more dog owners would realize that.

This was a quick read and it was worth the couple of days i spent on it solely because i love dogs and it's always fun to hear stories about them. I was grateful that Klam's book focused on her dogs rather than on her own life, unlike John Grogan's memoir. I do not think this book is worthy of its New York Times Bestseller status, though, and i don't plan to pick up another dog memoir anytime soon.
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message 1: by emily (new) - added it

emily Having a Boston Terrier, I was eager to read this. The writing is so bad, though, that I am baffled at how many stars and how much praise it's received. That said, I will finish it, but won't buy any more of her "work!"

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