I love a book that makes me cry. When I'm so attached to a character that when something tragic happens, the tears just flow. Yes, I admit to crying at something that is pretend. But the character is so real!
I just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It was published a few years ago and every time I see it on the bookstore shelf, it whispers to me. Some books scream "HEEEEYYYYY! READ ME! I'M AWESOME!" But this one just whispered things like "I'm a gem of a story. You're heart will love me. C'mon pick me up and read me." So I finally responded to it's quiet call when I found a copy in my laundry room. (Note, I did not steal, there is a shelf where people can leave magazines and books for others to enjoy.)
So, it was fate and it was free. And I read it and it was wonderful! It's a family story of love, loss, heart, loyalty and determination all told from the dog's perspective. I don't know about you, but any book where a dog is a central character, I am sold! I don't want to tell you what happens because you should just read it to find out. But I am going to quote something from the book. This isn't a spoiler exactly, but you will get a whiff of what is at the heart of the book. And remember, this is a dog talking.
"To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to. When I am a person, that is how I will live my life."
The dog in this book also believes that monkeys are not the closest relative to humans, but dogs are. And he makes 2 points to prove his case. 1. The Dew Claw. To him it is "actually evidence of a preemergent thumb" and that the dew claw has stopped it's growth thanks to humans and their domestication of dogs and "selective breeding." We did that out of fear, because if dogs continued to evolve they in fact would be the dominant species and put us humans down in the totem pole.
But his second point is bloody brillant!
"Case-in-Point #2: The Werewolf. The full moon rises. The fog clings to the lowest branches of the spruce trees. The man steps out of the darkest corner of the forest and finds himself transformed into.... A monkey? I think not."
It truly is a wonderful, tug-at-your-heart-strings read. The author nails the dogs voice, his need to communicate with humans, his wish to understand more of why we do what we do, his undying love for his master. Read it. It's good.