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Jem: Lessons in Living

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  17 ratings  ·  10 reviews
John Donald Middleton was no stranger to dogs. He and his family adopted, sheltered, and loved a variety of canines over the years. But from the beginning, he knew Jem was different.

The four-pound bundle of thick, fawn-colored fur tumbled into John's life during a tough season. After years of constant business travel and alcohol abuse, the husband and father of three grown
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Pious Pelican Press
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  17 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*
One day, I will own a Pug. Or two. They are such quirky, adorable little dogs!

John Donald Middletons memoir, Jem, was a truly sweet, funny and heartbreaking read. This guy is a devoted dog lover. His life, albeit filled with many ups and downs, from alcoholism to family and work stresses, was made more bareable because he had such wonderful friends. All these friends were dogs, young and old who helped him get through some really traumatic times.

It just goes to show, if you've got a fluffy compa
Book Haunt
Like a lot of providers, John Donald Middleton spent many years wrapped up in his work, on the road a lot, and drinking quite a bit. His family had grown used to him being unpredictable and unreliable. When John’s drinking escalated to a crisis point, it was time to seek help. He entered a recovery program.

As John entered his retirement years, he began to realize that he hadn’t been the father or the husband that he should have been. In conjunction with his recovery, John begins mending fences b
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I wanted to love this, but I just didn't.
R.A. Schneider
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
One author's midlife struggle with alcoholism and attachment issues, revealed by his love of a pug. A heartfelt memoir. Authentic voice throughout, without any forced dramatic arc. A pleasant read with subtle textures of everyday life.

Nevertheless, some sense of the lessons being learned, and the conflict involved, might have arisen sooner. Aside from a couple brief references to alcohol, no indication of the troubles to come (or their connection to Jem) appeared until the conflict was revealed
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jem: Lessons in Living by John Donald Middleton is a very engaging memoir that uses the story of a pug named Jem (as well as other dogs Middleton had known) as both a learning experience and a structural guide for his own story.

I found a lot of the book interesting even though I am a different type of dog owner than Middleton was throughout a large part of this book. When I say different I don't mean good versus bad, just different. Each chapter began with a little bit about Jem, then went on to
Julie Haigh
Heart-warming and heart-breaking. 4.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

I’ve never thought of a pug as a breed of dog I wanted to own before. Since my son added a Jugalier to our family (Jack Russell, Pug and Cavalier combination) we have found our Trevor is the most darling and intelligent sweetie and this book cover jumped right out at me as just the type of read that would interest me now. I had many chuckles at Jem’s little ways-reminding me of our
Teena in Toronto
Mar 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Over the years, Middleton had had many dogs. He and his wife, Denise, have adult three children who have also had dogs over the years. This is the story of Jem, the pug Middleton had bought as a puppy for his son, Matt, who had moved back home, which meant the author got to spend a lot of time with Jem. Jem was the brother of Middleton's other son, Josh's dog, Scout.

Middleton was out of town a lot on business but also had the opportunity to work from home often. When he did, he would have Jem an
Danny Deshong
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A loving but sad tale about a man his best friend. I loved the little short story at the beginning of each chapter shedding light on the day to day happy moments between Jem and the author. The book is filled with warm moments with other pets as well along the way. Naturally there are sad moments which is inevitable but overall a sweet brief relationship tale amongst two souls.
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This touching story was as good, or maybe even better, as I expected. I would recommend this book to any dog lover, who knows how much one barking persona can change a life.
I spent a nice time with Jem: Lessons in Living, and only hope this won't be John's last book. I smiled, cried and wrote about it all here:
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, animal
Partly a memoir of the many dogs in his life and partly a memoir of the one, Jem, who taught him to be the man he is today; this is the touching and heartfelt story of John Middleton and the dog who taught him about life and about love.
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