Tuesday, May 19, 2009


MARLEY AND ME by John Grogan is a really good book. It's a chronicle of hilarious events centering around Marley the dog, his owner and their life together. A book like this could have the tendency to become sappy and too cute, but Grogan is such a good writer that the descriptions of the many amusing and sometimes unsettling occurrences are handled with acute skill, making them highly readable and real. You can't read this book without laughing---sometimes out loud, and you WILL be next to tears at the conclusion---guaranteed. This book is not just for dog lovers, but for everybody who enjoys comic episodes with sometimes unruly pets. It is a must read.

The movie version of MARLEY AND ME was god-awful. It's so difficult to render this excellent book into film because its appeal lies almost solely in the writing---not the story line. I forget who was in this disaster of a movie. It's that terrible actor whose nose is broken about four times, and who insists on talking through it, and the female actor( the word ACTRESS is only a Hollywood word; actors are actors)---I believe her first name is Jennifer---was nondescript as she always is in anything I've seen her in. I'm always amazed at how little talent some of those people have, and yet get top billing. Anyway, if you saw the movie and was disappointed in it, read the book. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

DOG WHISPERER, by Cesar Millan. Hey dog owners and lovers, have you read this book? Now, this guy is amazing! He knows dogs; he understands dogs; he talks to dogs. I'm not a dog owner(I was. See previous post), but I was amazed at how Cesar explains the manner in which dogs see the world---in packs, how they sense the energy of the pack members and Alpha--their chief cue to activity, how smelling is of primary importance to them, how their sense of hearing serves as an alert to any potential danger, how their position in the pack is of utmost importance to them, and so on. He also warns that people should be aware of this pack mentality, and should not treat their dogs as furry, small humans.

Dominance by the owner is very important---that's dominance without abuse, by the way. Molly's owner(remember Molly?) showed me how the Alpha(being the owner) shows dominance and control. She called Molly over to her, bent down to her with her index finger extended downward on Molly's neck(barely touching). Molly flattened to the floor, and stayed there until the Owner released her. The Owner said that you can't do this with some dogs, and that it could even be dangerous to try it with a lot of dogs. It's complete submission.
So this is a good book to read in order to understand a dog's world. It could help if you are having any issues with your dog. Oh! Cesar says also that it is of the utmost importance that your dog expend all his energy during a long walk, daily---it make him a happy, contented dog. Pent up energy is usually the source of dog trouble.

THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE by David Wroblewski. This novel was a huge bestseller, and still on the charts, I think. I (my wife too) had a lot of problems with this novel. It was really well written, and the author can weave a story that make you enjoy picking up the book for a reading experience, but there were so many odd and disconnected scenes, so many unanswered plot contrivances, so many questionable motivations that when I finished it I wondered if I had missed something somewhere along the line. I spent hours on the computer(I don't do this often, if at all) reading reviews from all over America trying to see if there was a critical one somewhere. All the reviews I read were saying that this book was a perfect gem. But, I did find one critical review. It was in the Chicago Tribune, I think(can't remember now), and this reviewer commented on a lot of the things I had found. I was so pleased because I thought I was really missing something.

The Sawtelle Dogs plot outline was borrowed from Hamlet. I hate when they do this because they believe it gives it a higher, classical meaning, which is hogwash. There is a young boy in this novel who was mute, for no real reason, and who had an uphill battle to avenge his father's murder. This feature alone brought Oprah in waving banners in her astute literary cheerleader garb, which propelled the book to the top of the bestseller list. But this novel has major problems with continuity, and common sense. It doesn't work on many levels. At least it didn't work for me.

Next: Hey, I read TWILIGHT! Oh, dear God, I did. I'll tell you all about the gory details in my next post.

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