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The Dog Says How

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  592 ratings  ·  120 reviews
In this wonderfully original collection of autobiographical stories, popular storyteller and NPR commentator Kevin Kling deftly weaves pitch-perfect scenes of childhood antics and adulthood absurdities with themes of overcoming tragedy, forging lifelong friendships, and living with disabilities in a complex world.
In “Circus,” Kling recollects how his love of boats, animal
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Borealis Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  592 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction, comedy
A delightful collection of autobiographical short stories about both Minnesota and abroad. A mix of tragedy, comedy, and adventure.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you've ever heard that sing-song Scandinavian lilt so well known in the upper midwest, you'll hear it in Kevin Kling's writing. You'll identify with his endearing and scathingly honest accounts of the culture and the people that make Minnesota so beloved. From the first time I heard him on Minnesota Public Radio and in his narration at the historical A/V presentation at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, I knew I liked him. Kling's writing is the type that comes across as conversation with ...more
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
I love *listening* to Kevin Kling, but I'm just not sure his stories hold up as well when written. Without the benefit of Kling's distinctive, warm delivery, the stories' homespun wisdom feels a bit forced and within easy spitting distance of trite cliche. I suspect if I'd taken this in as a book on tape, I might have felt quite a bit differently. I wish I could say I enjoyed this more.
Julie  Capell
Laugh-out-loud funny stories with just the right touch of poignancy to keep them from being saccharine. The author is from Minnesota and tells stories grounded in his childhood, so the inevitable comparison to Garrison Keillor comes to mind. But since Kling is from a much different generation than Keillor--my generation, in fact--the stories feel very different and more relatable. Spaghettios and grilled cheese sandwiches, skating in winter with hand-me-down skates, eating Jello at every meal, a ...more
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to have been able to attend a play by Kevin Kling while in Seattle recently. It was wonderfully funny, and I was immensely pleased to discover someone else who will admit to getting into a front-loading dryer when a child and have his/her brother watch them go around and around until it was the brother's turn. I am still out-numbered, however. I now have heard of three guys, and me, the lone girl, to have done it. But I know there are others out there. They just won't admit it. T ...more
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. For me, this book had a personal side as well since I went to college with Kevin and was able to connect his childhood life with the person I knew via the short stories in this book. His droll wit most definitely comes through. A delight!
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
So funny and fresh. He needs an editor next time to tighten it up.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read for any Minnesotan or someone who loves a Minnesotan. Perhaps even for those who hate a Minnesotan. This book reveals a bit of our souls in every story. Know that some of the stories may be unbelievable but that’s just part of living in a place where the air hurts your face sometimes.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I had never heard of this author before, but I needed a short audio book and this fit the bill. It was quite enjoyable to listen to but I suspect there is little I remember a month from now.
Dallas Rising
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The audiobook is the only way to go on this one. Supurb.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book especially resonates with Minnesotans and dog lovers but anyone will appreciate the humor and insights.
Matthew Metzdorf
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Listened to this as an audiobook read by the author, and it is great! A lot of humor, heart, and character in this collection of midwestern growing-up stories.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Laughed out loud!
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I was not familiar with Kevin. Amusing stories. Interesting stories. I liked this book.
Becky DeVito
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I went to the National Storytelling Festival a few years back with my mum and Kevin was a featured storyteller there. These stories are no joke but the way he is able to portray them in such good humor is simply amazing. I couldn't put it down and was laughing till I cried in parts. Excellent portrayal of when life hands you lemons.
Dec 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: you!
I saw at the bookstore that Kevin Kling wrote a book, so I asked for it for Christmas. Santa got it for me, and I finished it in a day's time.

Kling's known especially for his storytelling on NPR, but his stories mean more to me because he does his work at Minnesota Public Radio. Kling's stories have to be heard to appreciate their full value. He speaks frantically and with a pace that makes it sound like he's telling you all this at a bar.

The autobiographical essays are full of meaning, and Klin
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Kevin Kling is a regional author/artist/performer probably best known outside of Minnesota for his essays for NPR's "All Things Considered." His more-Minnesotan-than-Fargo accent is hard to miss even for those of us who live here, but his writing is as true and universal as any you are likely to come across.

The tone of these essays ranges from gentle humor to aching sadness.

The line from the essay that provides the title for the book is what Kling's computer "voiceware" understood his dog to sa
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this book after reading a big article on Kevin Kling in the Mpls. Star Tribune. (Kling is a local storyteller/actor/performer/writer who also tells his stories on National Public Radio, and is a fortunate survivor of a horrific motorcycle accident.) I could connect with so many details, having grown up in Minnesota myself, and having an older brother around Kling's age (early 50's). And my grandparents lived in Osseo, MN (one of the areas Kling lived in/near) when it was still rural.

I la
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
After hearing Kevin Kling at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, I just HAD to buy his CD. I listened to the unabridged book on CD and it felt like I was back at the festival, under the tent, hearing Kling tell his stories.
Kevin Kling tells autobiographical tales of his growing up years in Minnesota, his adventures, and of living with a disability. In a way, he's like a young Garrison Keillor on hyperdrive. Keillor's deep voice lulls you into complacent relaxed listening, Kling's voice will en
Jul 27, 2011 added it
I loved this book and there are some parts of the book that will make you laugh,cry, and that are serious and will make you rally think about life. One of my girlfriends doesn't like the word disabled it makes her really angry and in the last story of Kevin's book he defines disability so, I hope that Amy will appreciate the word disability more and not get angry when she sees the word or some calls her disabled. I highly recommend Kevin's book to people with and without disabilities it makes a ...more
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Today I left my laptop at home and realized it when I got to work, my brakes squealed and my husband was irritating me.
I got to work, popped in the CD and laughed all day. Kevin Kling if a MN native as I am, but you would not need to be from MN to laugh until you cry.
He writes of growing up, coming of age and makes fun of everything.
He explains the sound of the transmission in the family car “like a piano and a plumber falling down the stairs.” His describes grandmother’s nose whistling sounding
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
I saw this book on our library's Book Sizzle e-letter and grabbed it for a quick read. I was not expecting it to be so laugh out loud funny, and at he same time showing such vunerability. Like a few other memoirs/personal essays I've read lately, the authors are my contemporaries and that in and of itself speaks to me, the humor of growing up in the 70's is so easy and tacky that it's impossible to not poke fun at, I mean we're talking a time when burnt orange and avocado green were 'in',and sim ...more
Sep 28, 2008 rated it liked it
On the surface these are simple stories imbued with Kling's sense of story telling—but they are more than easy tales. Kevin Kling was born without a thumb or wrist on one arm and then a horrific motorcycle accident leaves him with a right arm that is paralyzed—leaving him without the use of his arms for any fine motor activity. His short pieces go back and forth between stories taking place before the accident and those after the accident.

While there is much to laugh at, there are stories fille
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's long training runs time again and so I'm off on a quest to find funny nonfiction audiobooks to make the miles go faster.

This is the first I came upon. I only picked it up because it had the markings of a hilarious listen. And I was not disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I didn't get a chance to load it on to my ipod. I listened to it in the car and found myself chuckling along.

It's a compliation of essays written by Kling that testify to the everydayness of everyone's life. He r
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Kling is such a charming storyteller. When he was interviewed for Almanac (Twin Cities public tv) he said that tells his stories for 15 years or so and then he writes them down. I love to hear him tell stories, and I feel fortunate that I know his voice well enough to "hear" him in my head as I'm reading these stories. If you read this book along with Holiday Inn, you'll find some repetition--he retells the story from a slightly different point or uses part of one story as a transition to anothe ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate enough to come across the 3-CD audio version of Mr. Kling's book, "The Dog Says 'How'" at my local library last week, and it's been my companion on the commute to and from work. It was funny, quirky, a bit "eeeewy" (I'm a "girl" and some of the "boy" stuff was, well, "eeeeew!" ;-) )...and lovely, poignant and genuine. Plus listening to the author read it, with all his nuances and inflections, was absolutely the best way to enjoy each essay. I highly recommend it!
Dec 20, 2007 rated it liked it
I adore listening to Kevin Kling on NPR/MPR, but I was disappointed at how poorly these essays translated to the page. Kling is an oral story-teller, and I wanted to hear these essays rathe than read them. On paper, the short pieces lack awareness of language and structure that is pervasive in good contemporary creative nonfiction. I must say, though, that this book is an easy, fast read, and might make a good gift for your funny Uncle Milt.
Aug 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a gift from my daughter who lives in the Twin Cities. Lots of things about the book were appealing including an extension off local things about Minneasota which is offered by Garrison Keillor also. I am glad I had time to read it. Kevin combines comic and poignant. It shows insight about the human condition and life in community with others. Kevin has things to say. Short book with short chapters. An easy read.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it

I think he is mesmerizing to listen to. In print it has a different feel. I still found this book poignant (particularly the last chapter) and hilarious to the point of tears here and there. But I have to say that I was a little disappointed over-all. Sometimes hard to hang on to the thread ...and to empathize because the circumstances are so unexpected or crazy. After a while the amusement of it can wear a little thin...predictable.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first heard of this book after hearing the author interviewed on "On Being" on Minnesota Public Radio. Maybe it's because I grew up in ND and now live in Minnesota, but I found this book hilarious. So many things were clever and downright realistic in regards to the life up here. It was poignant and thought-provoking at the same time, coming from a very interesting man who has a unique perspective on life. I am so glad that I took the time to read this book.
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Kevin Kling is a well-known playwright and storyteller, and his commentaries can be heard on NPR’s All Things Considered. His plays and adaptations have been performed around the world. He lives in Minneapolis.

From the author's website.

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