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The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  43 reviews
It is a story, not one of science, and one that may not be remembered past this one lifetime. It is the story of someone that did not know his destiny, but followed it with unfaltering step, bound to me, not by vows or paper, but in the name of the trust that was the best part of his nature. It is a story of the one that taught me to love, even as he occasionally barfed on ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published July 21st 2014 by Outskirts Press
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  194 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Start your review of The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever by L.B. Johnson is a non-fiction read that is the author’s memoir of life with her pet Lab, Barkley. For animal lovers we all know that pets are like family and we all grieve when they are gone and this author chose to write down her thoughts and memories and share them.

Overall this was a lovely read and I did enjoy joining in with Barkley’s mom as she remembered her time with him. The story however had a tendency to wan
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir of a woman and her dog, Barkley the black lab. And, as such, it is a love story. A love story that any dog owner or, should I say, pet owner can appreciate. While for me, and I think most other readers, the best parts of the book are the stories about Barkley, I appreciated the author's musings and reminiscing about her family, especially her childhood. I saw in other reviews that several readers thought she got too much off the story of Barkley, but I wanted to know more about ...more
J.A. Schneider
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, did I love this book. “For most people, like me, the bigger scars are internal,” the author writes, and as touched as I felt reading those first words, I also wondered: this is a book about loving a dog? It sure is. Can a puppy heal hurt? Anyone who’s ever loved a pet beyond measure knows that answer. The author’s dream of owning a puppy was impractical; she had neither the time nor the space for a pet that would grow into eighty or ninety pounds of fur, sacrifice, and loving clamor. Practic ...more
David Hopper
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of the novel last week from the author to read and give an honest review, and had placed it on my nightstand for when I got in the mood to dig in to a new book. I finally commenced reading it last night, and with the exception of a brief intermission to get something to drink and finish off some leftover pizza(I may have been channeling Barkley, lol), I found myself right back into the story.

I had to stop a few times and go back and re-read some pages after a bit of my own day
David W.  Berner
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of dog-themed books out there, but it takes a wonderful writer to make a book rise to the top. LB Johnson has a superior gift for observation and a soft touch with the emotional elements that connect humans and dogs. What she learns from her life with Barkley is realized only because Barkley Is such a great emotional sherpa and because she permits Barkley to teach her. With humor, tenderness, and grace, Johnson tells of her own transformation through the love of a big, lovable bl ...more
Kevin Baker
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently lost Boo, my 19 year-old cat. Nineteen years is a long time to share with another creature, and loss is painful. If you've ever had pets, you've almost certainly gone through it.

Another blogger lost her best buddy not too long ago. L. B. Johnson lost her black Lab, Barkley back in February after almost eleven years.

Each of us deals with loss in different ways. I've been blogging for a bit more than eleven years now, but I'm a good technical writer. Anything other than posting an annou
Harriet Steel
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-stories, humour
I had to give this 5* since, being a dog lover, it moved me so much. It's a heart-felt, often humorous, account of how a black labrador called Barkley helped the author come to terms with life and find happiness - a tribute to the power of canine love and the finding of joy in everyday things. It was a free download so many thanks to the author for her generosity. ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read books like this....ok, so I never read books like this, but I am glad I did. I actually can't seem to find the words because the sting of the loss of my pet still feels very new, but she reminded me that I need to be thankful for the time I had with my furry friend. Perspective. ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book

It's not just a book about a dog, but a book about life. It's funny and sad and uplifting. It's lyrical and sometimes stream of consciousness, occasionally a bit confusing. Once in a while I noticed a "misplaced" comma or a sentence fragment, but then I realized that among friends, those things don't matter in order to communicate. I found this author quite by happenstance; she commented on a blog of an author I follow, then I looked on Amazon for her. Happy accident!
Dick Whittington
Enjoyed those parts that dealt with Barkley, his life, antics and relationships. As a lab owner I could easily identify with most of these parts. The authors musings in the area of philosophy often interrupted the flow of the story and sometimes took the reader off track. I found many of these parts frustrating. Have read many better dog-owner memoirs that I preferred and would recommend before this one.
Linda Tomkinson
The Book if Barkley

Always enjoy a good story about a faithful and loving dog. I found parts of this book a bit tedious. Not much excitement but enjoyed the connection of a good good and his human.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don’t like to write negative reviews, but I had a hard time reading this book. The writing style was hard to read and to follow - thoughts jumped all over. Very little of the book was actually about Barkley, it was more author musings.
Lorna Corcoran
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most beautiful heartfelt book from a true animal lover that I've read in a long time. Loved it! ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
The author seemed to overwork each paragraph, like she was trying to prove something. I wanted to hear more about Barkley and his antics, but heard more about the author herself (less interesting).

I think I wanted this to be more like Marley and Me, but it just wasn't.

Virginia Kahn
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book

I have a black lab if my own, Some of the antics remind me of my Dakota thank you for sharing your story and memories
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed in the end. The book was good but the end dragged on and got so sad. Of all the endings that one side swiped me.
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Much more than a book about a black Lab. Contemplative and has many levels. But excellent book.
Sharon A Weidling
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone needs a Barkley

Everyone needs at least one Barkley in their lives. Reading the antics of Barkley and looking over at my own dog. . .
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading Richter Scale: 5 Stars. The author has a way with words that will blow your mind away!

What an amazing read!  Upon first downloading this free Kindle Unlimited book with our Prime membership, I figured The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever by L.B. Johnson was a novel about the antics of a puppy/dog.  But it is a novel that is so much more than that.

With words written from her heart and brought forth from her soul, Johnson not only describes a dog's li
Awesome Indies Book Awards
Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include THE BOOK OF BARKLEY LOVE AND LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF A LABRADOR RETRIEVER by L.B. JOHNSON in the library of Awesome Indies' Seal of Excellence recipients at

Original Awesome Indies' Assessment (5 stars):

No one who has ever had a dog as a companion will be able to read The Book of Barkley: Love and Life through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever by L. B. Johnson with dry eyes.
Johnson tells the story of her life, from chil
Renee Roner
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book brought back some wonderful memories of the best dog we ever had. We got him from the local shelter. He was not a looker but definitely a Heinz. He was the color of a golden retriever with the head of a lab, the freckles and forehead blaze of a heeler and the jowls of a bloodhound. He played hard with our 8 year old son and his friends, and then could turn and immediately put his head in the lap of a daughter having a bad day. We didn't know exactly how old he was, but when our
Priscilla King
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all people who like dogs, romance, comedy, or "inspiration"
This is a sweet little story about a girl and her dog, who inadvertently causes a knee injury, and her growing friendship and eventual marriage to a young man who helps her recover...only it's not told the way corporate publishers thought such stories ought to be told. It's not a sweet Christian romance, although the characters are Christians. It's not a Silhouette Desire romance, although the heroine is divorced and over 25. It's a real story about a woman who not only prays while hunting, bond ...more
Ebook Planet
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The fact the proceeds are going to charity just makes me love this book even more.

The Book of Barkley is the story of a labrador and the journeys he shares with his human companion in the 60s and 70s. It has an autobiographical element as the author shares many of her own experiences with plenty of nostalgia and philosophical musings.

Barkley's antics are often amusing and charming, but there are moments of real poignance that will resonate long after you've finished reading. Johnson has ensure
R J Mckay
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-shelf
I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for a review.

This is the story of a black lab. It is also the story of trust. Author L. B. Johnson reminds us that often the simplest things are the best things. Family, friendship, trust…these are what make life fulfilling. Barkley quickly captures the readers’ heart, as he and his best friend, Mr. Squeaky, along with his human, L.B., journey together through life with all of its ups and downs.

This story is emotional. I cried, but I also laughed.
Amy Shannon
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

Love and Life indeed!

A poignant tale about Barkley, a Labrador Retriever. It's not just about the life of this dog, but how he affected those in his life. There is a deep connection between humans and dogs, and as all pet owners can attest, dogs are not just mere pets. The bond between pet and owner is not just filled with love, but sometimes frustration. The author writes "I could have gotten a cat. No, I'm not a cat person. I could have gotten a pet rock. Or a BMW." She was in her pajam
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although at times it felt like she got a little carried away with the creativity of her descriptions, I truly enjoyed this book. Everything around me is telling me to slow things down, enjoy my life, surroundings and how the world is made up. This book did exactly that. Whether it be the love of an animal, a spouse, a brother or sister or the love of a hobby..."stop and smell the roses" (as my husband likes to tell me).
Thank you L.B. Johnson for the light you brought with this book through the
Mark Alger
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I never give anybody five stars. But this one, yeah. It earns them. Keep a box of tissues handy. Be prepared to choke up on occasion. Lyrical writing, given to discursive side-tracks, as of an untrained hunting dog following rabbit scents. But always returning to the main path of the narrative, seamlessly, with skill and grace. They tell you that, to be loved, you should be a person someone would want to love. L.B. reveals herself as someone you know is worthy of a dog's love.
Anna Johnson
I feel like this book was less about Barkley and more about the narrator's take on life. I appreciated every bit that included the black lab but didn't follow the train of thought for how a mess on the carpet could relate to a childhood story. I felt like the author went off on tangents and attempted to make commentaries where none was needed. It is a heartfelt story about a woman's love for her dog but overall it didn't stick to that specific story arc for me. ...more
C.S. Wilson
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so beautifully written that it was almost painful. Each word was placed just so, which added depth and feeling that was easy for the reader to share. I had to read this in small chunks, because it was overwhelming at times. Reading this book was like looking at a sculpture or painting that takes your breath away. I highly recommend it.
Gayle Rote
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A true love story

As I sit here with my dog's body laid tight against my thigh, eyes wet with tears, remembering another old friend who lives in my heart after 17 years of companionship. I am a lucky human to have had 2 such loving dogs. Dog is God spelled backwards. I loved this book.
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