Leah's Reviews > The Badness of King George

The Badness of King George by Judith Summers
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's review
Aug 16, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: for-review, books-read-2010

After Judith Summers’ latest relationship breaks up, in part due to her pet Cavalier George, and her son Joshua heads off for University, Judith’s life is looking a bit empty and she’s suffering from ‘empty nest’ syndrome. A chance encounter on Hampstead Heath with a fellow dog-owner who adopted a dog from Many Tears Animal Rescue. After her step-daughter then adopts a dog from the same centre, Judith browses the website and decides to head down to Wales to visit the centre in person. Once there, Judith learns that not only can you adopt dogs from the centre, but you can also foster dogs whilst the centre looks for new homes for the dogs. Judith thinks it sounds like a fantastic idea and decides to go for it, hoping it’ll cure the empty feeling she currently has. George, though, isn’t too keen on the idea and when Judith gets her first foster dog, there’s no telling what George will do to keep Judith to himself…

Since reading Marley and Me last year, and acquiring two dogs of my own two years ago, I’ve become a real fan of stories that include animals, be it fiction or non-fiction despite not really being a huge non-fiction fan. Before coming across The Badness of King George I had heard of Judith Summers as she has written a fiction book called Who Gets Fluffy? which I have on my shelf to read at some point. However I hadn’t picked up anything else of hers, although I did like the sound of her first book about her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel George, My Life with George, but I hadn’t managed to find it anywhere. I received a copy of her new non-fiction book The Badness of King George and because I was at a loose end, I decided to give it a read.

As with my other non-fiction reviews, this isn’t going to be a particularly long one as there’s only so much you can say about a non-fiction book, isn’t there? I don’t think it’s necessary to read Judith’s first book about George, My Life With George, before reading The Badness of King George as Judith fills us in on how she acquired George, how her husband Udi died of cancer, and while I will seek out the first book, I don’t think it matters when it comes to enjoying this new tale. I would also mention that if you’re not a pet fan or a dog owner then this book probably isn’t for you, and it’s well worth you avoiding it because you won’t get the pleasure from it that a dog owner will when it comes to all things dogs.

It does take a while before Judith actually begins adopting dogs, around 100 pages, and before that happens we learn about George, about how Judith becomes a dog fosterer but the book really takes off once Judith does actually foster a dog. I don’t have first hand knowledge of dog fostering, or house training a dog (ours were already house-trained) so I found Judith’s experiences both eye-opening and fairly amusing. From what we learn of George, Judith is a really bad person to ask to house-train dogs yet one of the things she has to do whilst fostering dogs is to help house-train them and, more often than not, it ends in disaster. Judith is incredibly honest and admits she is useless at being the dominant one with her own dog George and the dogs she fosters.

As well as the dog fostering aspect to the book, there’s also a bit of a burgeoning romance going on with Matthew, whom Judith meets at a single night one night. It was a sweet aspect to the book and it was a good thing to include after all Judith has been through the past few years. It’s definitely an uplifting book and it highlights beautifully what Many Tears, the Animal Rescue centre Judith fosters from, do to help dogs. Judith includes many stats throughout the book, about puppy farms (who could be so cruel?) to how many abandoned dogs their are each and every year. The numbers aren’t great, but as long as rescue centers are around, there’ll always be hope. It broke my heart a little to hear the stories of some of the dogs Many Tears look after because I truly can’t comprehend how people can be so cruel to such a trusting and loving animal.

Don’t get me wrong, the book isn’t one long rant on the people in this world who do terrible things, it’s a story of how one woman deciding to change her life by fostering dogs and how her very own dog George took it. At times it’s amusing, it’s heartbreaking and it made me nod in recognition, and I really enjoyed reading it. It might well be backwards but I’m definitely going to buy myself My Life With George and see how it all began!

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Reading Progress

August 16, 2010 – Shelved
August 16, 2010 – Shelved as: for-review
August 17, 2010 – Started Reading
August 17, 2010 –
page 1
0.23% "I love a good book about a dog."
August 18, 2010 –
page 211
48.84% "I'm really enjoying it. Having two dogs of my own helps!"
August 19, 2010 –
page 352
August 19, 2010 – Shelved as: books-read-2010
August 19, 2010 – Finished Reading

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