Grace's Reviews > A Three Dog Life

A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
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May 01, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: book-club-books, memoir, non-fiction, science-brain, read-in-2010

Abigail Thomas' "A Three Dog Life" is a jumbled up mess of a memoir that is out of control and incredibly difficult to follow. Is it about her three dogs? Is it about using the three dogs to cope after his husband's accident? Is it about her husband Rich's irreversible brain damage from the accident? Is it about her writing? These four concepts are meshed together in a stream of consciousness style that left me scratching her head and wondering who in their right mind would publish something so chaotically put together and lacking form and flow.

I am not doubting Thomas' sincerity in telling her story or using the written word to come to terms with her new life after her husband's accident that left him a shadow of what he once was. It is a compelling story and she has a great deal of experiences and life lessons that would entertain and inspire readers. Instead, I walked way from this thin volume (thank goodness it was short) wondering how someone so vapid and shallow could land a book deal about this story and then ruin it through poor writing and story execution.

Where was the rest of her family during the five years the memoir spans? She called them after the accident, but with the exception of her husband's daughter Sally, and some fleeting mentions of two of her daughters, nothing is said of them, how they coped, and how they fit into Abby and Rich's new life. As a mother and stepmother, how did her children not end up in this memoir more?

Reading this memoir left me with more questions than answers, yet I have no desire to get the answers to these questions.
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Reading Progress

May 1, 2010 – Started Reading
May 1, 2010 – Shelved
May 1, 2010 – Shelved as: book-club-books
May 1, 2010 – Shelved as: memoir
May 1, 2010 – Shelved as: non-fiction
May 1, 2010 – Shelved as: science-brain
May 1, 2010 – Shelved as: read-in-2010
May 1, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Billy Well said! No redeeming value!


message 2: by Lorene Boyes (new)

Lorene Boyes The memoir is about coping with a sudden change in life circumstances and coming out on top. I am halfway through the book. She has a difficult relationship with one daughter. I appreciate that she did not bring it front and center - the book is about her life after a traumatic accident. I believe her story may give other's hope who face TBI with their loved ones. I had the choice to read it for free on Kindle Unlimited or purchase it. I purchased it. It is her story and in the telling Rich's story. I consider the time reading it worthwhile.


Billy I actually suffered this injury back in 1998 racing cars, and I couldn't relate it all to it. I found it remarkably self centered and about her damn dogs. I've read better accounts of this change many times, It really sucked


Marilyn Saul This self-centered author actually laid bare what she was doing in her chapter on memories: she deconstructed and then reconstructed her memories of the accident and her role in not advocating for her husband to have a death with dignity but instead keeping him alive knowing full well that he would live his live permanently brain damaged - and now we should all feel sorry because of how this affects her. I was left with two thoughts: Poor Rich. Living Will.


Shannon Parsons I'm not finding this self-centered or shallow but then I'm also not having difficulty following the writing so perhaps that's why.


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