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Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls-- One Flying Disc at a Time

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,134 ratings  ·  174 reviews
The author of the New York Times bestseller The Lost Dogs shares the heartwarming tale of one plucky, unwanted pit bull who achieved international celebrity.

Today, Wallace is a champion. But in the summer of 2005, he was living in a shelter, a refugee from a suspicious pit bull–breeding operation. Then Andrew “Roo” Yori entered the picture. A scientist and shelter volunteer, Roo cou
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 30th 2012 by Gotham (first published August 1st 2012)
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Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos MontalvánA Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce CameronMarley and Me by John GroganThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth SteinThe Call of the Wild by Jack London
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Start your review of Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls-- One Flying Disc at a Time
[Shai] Bibliophage
For my 1000th read, I've chosen something special that talks about one of the things, or in this case a living thing, that I love. I bought a copy of this last year and I almost forgot that it was just lying on my boxes of books. I thought that my 1000th read is a momentous event for me, hence I search on my pile and found this. Also, it's apparent from my profile picture here in Goodreads that I love dogs, so I've decided that I will read any novel that is about them.

For my 1000th read, I've chosen something special that talks about one of the things, or in this case a living thing, that I love. I bought a copy of this last year and I almost forgot that it was just lying on my boxes of books. I thought that my 1000th read is a momentous event for me, hence I search on my pile and found this. Also, it's apparent from my profile picture here in Goodreads that I love dogs, so I've decided that I will read any novel that is about them.

The story of the dog Wallace is really amazing because despite people's prejudice about his breed, he was still able to overcome this through the unending love and support of his owners. I commend the couple Roo and Clara, and the other people who shared the sentiment because they never gave up on him. They tried to work incessantly to give Wallace a chance to show the world that it's not about the dog's breed, but it's up to how he was raised and trained.

Probably everyone knew about the horrible stories about pit bulls as vicious and dangerous. This is because of the fact that some evil people uses these innocent creatures to gamble their lives on dog fights. I love how Roo worked Wallace's energetic and playful personality on its own advantage — making him the first and prominent famous pit bull to joined disk/frisbee competitions. Through Wallace, it paved the way for other pit bull owners to trained and compete them in these tournaments.

How I wish that this book will come across those who have preconception about pit bulls, especially on those places that still have the BSL or the Breed-Specific Legislation. This novel will enlighten them that whatever breed the dog is, it will behave according to what it was taught. If you nurtured it with love and respect, it will grew up kindly; if you showed it to act violently, it will be aggressive. Rescued dogs from dog fights are not a lost cause because there's always hope that they will change, just as Roo and Clara's optimism to change the mindset of people about dogs like Wallace that was born as a pit bull.

To end my review of this remarkable book by Jim Gorant, please check out and be amaze of how Wallace's life was on this tribute video. You may also visit Wallace The Pit Bull Foundation if you want to support their mission.
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs
I may be biased, but this is the best dog book ever written. Wallace is my boy! I can confirm that he is an inspiring dog and so very lovable.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I'm a huge champion of pit bull type dogs. I do a lot of work with dog rescue in Philly, so I was thrilled when I saw this book at our local library. I devoured the first 100 pages and I really enjoyed learning about Wallace's story and background. (I often wonder what my rescued mutts' lives were like before we came into their lives.) I founded a non-profit that pairs up runners with shelter dogs ( for the same reasons Roo started enteri ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
What a sweet, powerful little book.

Honestly, I went into this expecting it to be pretty mediocre. An underread dog book written by a journalist doesn’t exactly scream quality, but I enjoyed Gorant’s The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption, which made me willing to give this a chance. I’m so glad I did!

I think there’s something really special about the way Jim Gorant presents these stories. The Lost Dogs remains an incredibly impactful story, and I was delighted to find t/>I
Pamela Kramer
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls -- One Flying Disc at a Time" by Jim Gorant is another dog story. Gorant wrote "The Lost Dogs" about the Michael Vick dogs and it's still one of the best books out there about the Vick story.

In "Wallace," Gorant introduces us to another pit bull. This dog starts life in a home where his future is unknown -- perhaps to be sold as a fighting dog, or perhaps to end up as a bait dog. With Wallace's p
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The story of Wallace and Roo and Clara is one that more people who own any type of dog should read. It's a huge testament to perseverance, love, creative thinking, the power of practicing your craft (Wallace was only half the team, Roo put in his time so he could be a worthy 'other half'), and being able to recognize when you've found the thing that fits, whether it be a relationship, a type of diet, or a sport with your dog. I read this book in one sitting, I found it delightful, heartbreaking, ...more
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
I loved the story about Wallace. And what is really great, is that this was actually a story about Wallace....not its owner with a little dog story thrown in. I'm constantly amazed at the generosity and the determination possessed by those who truly set out to make a difference, whether they meant to do that all along or if it just kind of happened. Their capacity to love is great.

This is a rescue story of a pit bull that had some aggressive tendencies. People stepped in to save his
Ann M. Noser
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit to the following biases:
1) I love dogs of all kinds.
2) I am a Veterinarian.
3) I knew Wallace personally. He was charming, lovable, and sweet.
4) My family had a pit bull by the name of Melon Head for many years. He came to us a stray and died an old man. He was my father's best friend.

I'm amazed and impressed at how honest Wallace's owners were when interviewed for this book. That takes a special kind of bravery.

Reading this book will hel
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wallace by Jim Gorant is a different kind of dog story. Yes, it may remind some of Marley and Me – there is the rambunctious dog, after all. And yes, it may have hints of The Art of Raccing in the Rain – the owner’s own personal struggles are documented as well. But it is a one-of-a kind dog story. It is uplifting and inspiring and centers around Wallace, an underdog (literally), who, with the love and dedication of his owner, Roo Yori, is able to become a world champion disc dog and force peopl ...more
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book! I knew as soon as I saw this book that I had to own it. I nonchalantly walked down the animal aisle, gasping as I reached for this book and holding it tight as if someone was going to steal it from me. It had to be a perfect reading afternoon like today for me to read it.

I enjoy Jim Gorant's writing style, but of the two books of his I have now read, it is his subject matter I admire. Usually Jim writes Sports related books, but it is with this book about Frees
Nigel Stolting
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Top marks to Jim Gorant, Wallace is a must read. Once you start reading it's impossible to put the book down. I've been following the adventures of Wallace for the last several years through Facebook and his online videos on YouTube. In all these years, I never knew that he was such a troublesome teen and that his weight pulling and disk work were ways to curb his outlandish behavior. I'd also like to commend Roo and Clara for opening themselves up and letting Jim write about their relationship, ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Such a great book. I have long been a proponent of "dangerous dog" laws instead of breed-specific legislation. PROBLEM DOGS & DANGEROUS DOGS COME IN ALL SHAPES, SIZES, & BREEDS. This book gave me hope that someday we can get this message across to all. I am not a writer, per se, so the words that come to mind when reading this were:
and well-written.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! ^_^
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Loved the story, but did not care for the author's writing style. Too much redundancy. I admire Clara and Roo's commitment to Wallace and the "cause". I experienced breed specific discrimination when I had an American Staffordshire. She was the best dog ever, but my homeowners insurance agent didn't agree. I found a new agent. Great story and pictures.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Knowing I would love this book and this dog, I really looked forward to reading about Wallace. According to the book's cover this dog conquered a sport, saved a marriage and helped champion his unpopular breed. Wallace is a pit bull. Reading the description of a dog who did all this piqued my curiosity, mesmerized me and even had me feeling a bit humble.

Unfortunately, Wallace didn't come close to meeting my expectations. This dog is not a super hero in my opinion, but rather the victim
Emily Ann Meyer
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, dogs, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Yep I read another dog book. But this is so very different than any other book. Sure it's about an owner who develops a bond with a dog, but it is more.

This is a dog who has to be part cat. He survives early days of puppyhood when his owner dies. He is saved from what would most likely be a life of dog fighting. Wallace could have made headlines for a very different reason, but rescue people ended that.

He was placed in a home with someone who would love and train him. The
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
If I am rating based on the message in the book and/or what Wallace has accomplished, I would give it 4 or 5 stars. However, if I am truly rating the book itself, 3 stars is more accurate.

I love the story of Wallace and his people. Wallace shows how dedicated, loving owners can make a difference in a dog's life and that pits can do and be so much more than many people know. However, I found parts of the book repetitive while I felt other parts dragged. I was also curious how the auth
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read (or in my case, listen), especially for dog lovers. This is quite the story of a couple who really persevered with a dog that faced a lot of challenges, some due to circumstance and others due to his behaviors. Regardless, it's quite a tale of all the good that can lie within a dog (even one that's quite a rascal), if only someone takes the time to see it. Wallace's people (Roo & Clara) made tremendous effort to save Wallace when the deck was completely stacked against him. ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An amazing story Wallace sounds like a great dog! I have to give this book 5 stars more for the message and the importance of what I guess you could call doggy civil rights than for the writing style. Mostly in the beginning the Author ended chapters with cliffhangers like you would see in a cheesy action novel. The real hero of this story is Roo I firmly believe although a great dog that Wallace isn't that unique pit bulls are so smart loyal and loving dogs each and everyone out there could ach ...more
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was truly inspiring. I thought it was amazing that Wallace's owner held down two jobs while training Wallace and participating in so many competitions. Pit bulls have been given an unjustified bad rep and this book should go a long way towards dispelling the myths. I highly recommend it! I received a free advanced reading copy of this title from the publisher.
Liz Lawrence
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The biographical story of Wallace encompasses the lives of the people around him. It reads almost like an independent fiction. I highly recommend this book, especially if you love people human and otherwise.
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best story about the misunderstood pit bulls... I LOVED this story and all the characters. What a wonderful tribute to the breed. Exciting and heartwarming.
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've read several animal-centered memoirs and I believe this is perhaps my favorite, or at least the most well written. Plus yay for Pitbull advocacy and responsible ownership!
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ever since adopting my rescue dog, Ollie, I've found books about other rescue dogs to be even more heartwarming, and this was no exception. Wallace was a dog trained by his police officer owner to have a high attention to prey and drive for toys, but when conflict arose between Wallace and the cop's longtime canine companion, Wallace ended up at Paws and Claws, a Minnesota no-kill shelter. Unfortunately, his learned behaviors combined with his being a pit bull made Wallace virtually unadoptable. ...more
Sarah Elizabeth
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs, non-fiction
I loved this--sports and dogs are two of my favorite things, so how could I not? I loved the detail Gorant provided about the sport and his descriptions of the moves were so vivid I could picture them in my head. (And then inspired me to go watch videos on's even cooler than I imagined.) I wanted Wallace to win every time he stepped on the field, and I was surprised if he didn't. Dog stories are never just dog stories, though, and I liked how Gorant talked about Wallace's impact on ...more
Cara Achterberg
LOVED this book. Astounded at Gorant's gift for getting the story right and bringing people, dogs, and the truth of the situation to life. This is a book about a remarkable dog. He's also a pit bull, but Gorant trusts the reader to see the injustice in the attitudes without hitting us over the head with them. Instead, he tells a beautiful story about a man, the woman he falls in love with and one remarkable dog. It's exciting, heartwarming, fun, and addicting. I wish it hadn't ended and now I mu ...more
C Bradley
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a sucker for a good dog story. This is more than that. This story is about a dog who was almost given up - primarily because of his breed, but secondarily, because no one wanted to take this dog and harness his energy. This book champions this very misunderstood breed and shows the evolution of the "bad dog" to a very good dog, loved and appreciated and able to make his mark as an ambassador for the breed, against the horrible stereotypes.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
So I don’t do a whole lot of nonfiction, but I tackled this for the 2018 popsugar reading challenge. This book was great. I really enjoyed listening to this story of this dog and all the people in his life. I’m glad I picked this one up, it was a nice change from all the fantasy! I love animals and I love Wallace and his story. I agree that no breed should be singled out, but the individual dogs/owners.
A man, his pit bull, and a frisbee traveling the country in search of understanding for the breed and a little friendly competition, too. Much too drawn out with facts and snippets unnecessary to the story.

However, this book did not change my mind about the breed. I love dog, I love puppies, but not pit bulls. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and it seems as if Wallace was the exception.

Gina Moltz
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have multiple friends with pit bulls and know about many of their struggles to get society to accept their dogs. And I know about their joys of having such happy, lovable dogs. I had trouble following descriptions of some of the fancy moves they mastered. But I enjoyed trying to figure it out!
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Shortly after his birth in Brooklyn, New York, Jim's family decamped for the greener pastures of northern New Jersey. Other than the four years when he escaped to college in the distant metropolis of Philadelphia, he’s spent his entire life in the Garden State, where he still lives with his wife and two children.

Jim Gorant's career in magazine publishing began in 1990 with a job at Goo