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Denali: A Man, a Dog, and the Friendship of a Lifetime

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  565 ratings  ·  101 reviews
The story of a dog, his human, and the friendship that saved both of their lives.

When Ben Moon moved from the Midwest to Oregon, he hadn't planned on getting a dog. But when he first met the soulful gaze of a rescue pup in a shelter, Ben instantly felt a connection, and his friendship with Denali was born. The two of them set out on the road together, on an adventure that
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Penguin Group
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Callie I don't want to spoil the book (and also, I haven't finished the book myself yet anyway, so I don't know how/where it leaves off), but I highly recomm…moreI don't want to spoil the book (and also, I haven't finished the book myself yet anyway, so I don't know how/where it leaves off), but I highly recommend looking up the short film Ben made about Denali a few years ago. It's just called 'Denali', and it's so beautiful. My husband and I had stumbled upon it when it was first released online, and we were so pleased when this book came out afterwards. If you don't want a spoiler, wait until you finish the book to watch the film.(less)

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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Gloria Arthur
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
Beware !!! Reading this did bring me to tears!

This is a moving true story of a man and his husky-pit bull cross friend, Denali. Ben Moon is an adventurer and lives a very active life, surfing, rock climbing and adventure photography. He and Denali lived a ‘dirtbag’ lifestyle, camping near Ben’s climbing sites and enjoying the freedom of nature.

In the midst of this story Ben is diagnosed with colorectal cancer at the young age of 29! His story is inspiring and documents his struggle and survival
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Renee Hermansen
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a very personal and touching story of Ben Moon's life that he shared with Denali (His dog). They had a very active and adventurous life and were always together.
It covers Ben's divorce and his battle with colorectal cancer. His struggles with learning how to live with a colostomy bag and other changes in his life.
The incredible love and support that is portrayed between man and his dog in this book will touch anyone who reads this book. This book also reinforced to me the fact that
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Brennen O'Dell
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. The end of it was great because that’s when I felt he really started writing about his relationship with his dog. Before that, it’s mostly about different stages of his life with brief mentions of Denali. I expected this book to be more of a story of their relationship instead of about his life. I enjoyed it because of the end but wished he would have put more into describing his relationship with Denali, that’s more of what I expected this book to be. It’s ...more
Jill Stewart
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book wasn't what I wanted it to be, which is to say that the book jacket offers a description of a man and his dog and their fights against cancer. Sure, that's covered, but it is also about the man's depression, his decision to live out of a car (then van) for years. His divorce and his ex wife's indiscretions. His rock climbing. His trips to climb and surf and photograph. His belief that his colon cancer was caused by his childhood anxiety. His use of psychedelic drugs to explore his anxi ...more
Tina
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-book, cancer, dogs, 2020
This book is much more about Ben than his dog and I just didn't connect. I should have skipped it. ...more
Jessica White
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ben Moon was in his mid-20s, living near the mountains, and trying to save his crumbling marriage. This was never the life he wanted, but he began building his new life around climbing, surfing, and photography. That's when he knew he needed a new companion, a dog. Denali was just a few weeks old when Ben spotted him in the shelter. He knew this was the dog he wanted to spend forever with.

Ben and Denali lived in a van, living the "dirtbag" lifestyle. They lived a life on the road, camping near B
...more
Sarah
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was a really disappointing read. I picked this up the day after putting my 15 year old dog to sleep. I thought I would read about a man and his dog. Instead, this book felt like a self-centered portrayal of the author’s life with a few side notes of his dog. The author comes across as very “woe as me” throughout. His use of words is crude and his train of thought meanders aimlessly. It was tough to get through this book.
Jolene
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I knew when the main character went in and adopted a shelter dog, I would be hooked.  The bond between and Ben and Denali was inspiring to read about and I loved hearing about their care free life style.   The author is brutally honest when talking about his diagnosis and battle to beat colon cancer.  Denali and many others help him get through some dark times and when it is Denali's turn to fight for his life, Ben knows what it is like.  This is an easy but deep read that I recommend for anyone ...more
Jacilyn
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you love or have loved an animal, struggled physically and mentally, witnessed someone struggle, crave nature, pursue creativity - read this book. Bens story hits home on so many levels. From the PTSD and loss of self and friendships that comes along even with the success of winning a battle with cancer, the search for positivity in life and learning what serves you and what weathers you, reaching for more amidst the darkest times, and most importantly the unwavering companionship and love ou ...more
Melanie Pabst
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book loved me far more than I anticipated. I was sobbing through the end. The bond between them was remarkable. Nothing short of a gift. He articulated the true love for a pet, something I never take for granted with my own dogs. Loves of my life. This book hit home, to say the least.
And if you haven’t seen his short film, Denali, so yourself a favor and watch it right now. Be prepared for your heart to be ripped out, and then brought back home again.
Carly
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Would highly recommend this book to anyone! An easy and quick read that tugs at the heart strings.
Ben’s openness and realness helps the reader connect with him as he journeys through some immensely difficult times in his life.
Being a dog owner, I can relate to his level of love and appreciation he has for Denali.
A beautiful story written by a beautiful human.
Graeme Glennon
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A truly remarkable and inspiring story of a man and his dog. Ben is a gifted photographer, storyteller and film maker and tells the story of his very personal struggle with life, but with the help of a loyal canine companion he seeks out adventure. This is a must read for any animal and adventure lover.
Mary
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
We already know that dogs save us in so many ways. Denali is there for Ben during a divorce, awkward social settings and, finally, colon cancer. Their relationship over 14 years helps Ben grow into a confident human. There is a film on You Tube that you must watch after reading the book.
Zack
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
I picked the book up as a periodic reminder to myself that "we don't deserve dogs," which it did do very well. It revolves around the author's dog's camaraderie through his survival and recovery from cancer and its treatments, bold life choices, and relationship struggles. There were points where the hubris and humble-bragging (i.e., name and brand dropping) made it difficult to get through. ...more
Lesley
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I stayed up all night to read this book.. I just couldn't put it down. What a beautiful story of the unconditional love between man and his best dog friend. Be prepared to cry buckets.. this story is beautifully written. ...more
Annarella
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, dogs
A heartwarming and moving book that kept me hooked till the end.
I loved this stories and it touched my heart.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Cheri Lewis
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading about the "Dirtbag" lifestyle in this book, how Ben's life unfolds from his beginnings in Michigan, with Denali by his side. This book definitely tugged at my heartstrings, and confirmed what I already knew about the strong bond and unconditional love between a woman/man and their dog. ...more
Patti
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A truly inspiring read. Ben's strength at overcoming the odds is incredible. The bond between Denali and Ben was a big factor in Ben's healing both physically and emotionally.
To be able to travel, and work a job you also Love/enjoy and on top of that have inspiring/supportive friends and co-workers that was also a factor in his healing. To have Denali diagnosed with cancer also was heartbreaking, yet the bond between the two of them and the love and support they gave to each othet got them thru
...more
Graham Hodge
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful and inspiring story. ♥️
Joan
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished Denali and really can’t stop thinking about it and telling all of my dog-loving friends about it!! A beautiful soul-bearing journey that has me hugging my dog and my whole family even more tightly!! Thank you Ben Moon!!!!

Michelle Arredondo
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and moving story. Tears flowed, feelings were felt, and all was well after reading this book.


Thanks to the people at goodreads and to author Ben Moon for my copy of this book that I won via giveaway. I received. I read. I reviewed this book honestly and voluntarily.
Aaron Lopez
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Denali is a wonderfully written book by Ben Moon about the power of friendship and love. The story journeys through the life of Denali the dog and his owner Ben. We see tragedy and triumph and unselfish love displayed throughout the book.

I think this book really shows how much man's best friend can enrich life and how deep their love is. This book is an experience that can change lives.

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Kathleen Gray
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's always hard to review a memoir because, at least for me, it feels as though the reviewer is making judgements about the author's life and choices. Here, Moon tells the tale of his own challenges and those of his dog Denali in an unflinching way and he does it well. He was a young, arrogant (let's be honest) man when he was diagnosed with colon cancer, which sent him into a depression. About the only positive thing in his life was Denali, who he had rescued from a shelter. You know from the ...more
Karyn
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway and was so excited to read it. I couldn't put it down! Ben's story of his life with his dog Denali is a beautiful one, his battle with cancer and how Denali was always there for him will touch your heart. This book made me laugh, cry and now my dog Izaak will get even more hugs ☺ I absolutely loved this and highly recommend ...more
Pat
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent ! Touched my heart deeply! I highly recommend this book to everyone!
Brit McCarthy
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you crack open a dog book, especially a true story, there should be no doubt in your mind how it is going to end. There's only one way, and that's no spoiler. It still doesn't prepare you.

I liked this book, the story of Ben Moon and his dog Denali and the challenges they faced in life together, however be aware this book is not really what it is pitched as. Denali, while being a constant presence in Ben's life, is relegated to side character for much of this book as Ben takes us through his
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Mimi Jones
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Denali, a half-husky, half pit bull shelter dog, accompanies his owner, Ben Moon, through Ben's footloose days as a "dirtbag," a rock-climbing enthusiast living in his car in Western parks. Later, Denali sees Ben through a grueling bout of colon cancer at age 29. The bond between man and dog is very moving. (If the following information didn't appear in the promotional copy of the book it would be a spoiler, but since it does, it isn't.) Ben later returns the favor to his beloved companion, when ...more
Victoria B.
I didn't know who Ben Moon or Denali was before I read this book. Based on the title and the description, I thought it was going to be about a man, his dog, and their journey with cancer. Instead, it's an autobiography (primarily about Moon's entire life thus far, including his cancer journey) with the dog included in the writing sporadically until the end.

The writing itself is pretty good, but - and this may sound bad - I didn't really like the author. While seemingly honest, Ben writes about h
...more
Marisa
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a classic autobiography starting with Ben Moon’s childhood and everything that brought him to the point in which he met Denali and struggled with colorectal cancer. The things I liked best were the lyrical writing and honest self-reflection. While I don’t agree with all of Moon’s outlooks on life, he was not preachy and just laid it out as to what he faced, how he faced it and his recovery afterward. I really loved the stories of his relationship with Denali although I didn’t always ...more
Misty
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was given this advance, uncorrected proof for review. This was a very unique book about an avid outdoorsman who transformed his love of sports and nature into a thriving career as an outdoor, action photographer. It is also the story of his relationship with his dog, Denali, who he adopts as a puppy. Denali was a special dog who was able to fit into the author's extremely active (and often nomadic lifestyle). While his lifestyle seems free and idyllic he doesn't shy away from the hardships of ...more
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