Book Review: Woof! Edited by Lee Montgomery

woofAuthor:  Various

Publisher:  Penguiun Books

ISBN #:  978-0-14-311600-4

Type:  Short Stories

Pages:  243 Trade Paperback

Published:  September 2009  

Purchase:  $11.70 (HERE


The Story

There’s much more than one story in this compilation of short stories by authors including Rick Bass, Denis Johnson, Jayne Anne Phillips, Jim Shepard, Abigail Thomas and several others.  Each story presents a writer’s remembrance of their canine companion and how this pet affected his or her life.  The stories range from childhood remembrances of their pet to the anguish of losing a pet to illness or tragic death.  Each story differs, yet one thing remains the same, dogs are a very important part of their owners’ lives… these lives forever enriched by the role that their canine companion filled in it.

The Review

A true lover of books containing collections of short stories, I eagerly awaited this read.  Couple this with me being the great lover of animals and the proud keeper of a menagerie of pets, I was joyous at the prospect of reading so many stories about dogs!  Once I began reading, I discovered that some stories stood out much more than others, as to be expected in a compilation.  However, a commonality that I encountered in this collection is the experience of losing a pet to illness, a tragic accident, or even the expected passing due to old age.  Many of the stories included the author’s feelings and thoughts surrounding loss.  Being a pet owner of young dogs (3 & 2, respectively), I am just not in the right mindset to read stories that make me ponder losing them.  As much as a reality as it is that dogs’ lives are considerably shorter than their human companions’, I wasn’t ready to be faced with so many thoughts on loss.  Yes, their time may be brief with us and cognitively I realize that.  But, again, I just found too much sadness.

When I think about writing my dog story… I recall all of the funny and quirky things that my pups do.  I think about the great moments of when I brought them home or the sad memory of when Tori was struck by a car (and, relatively unscathed!).  I think about their goofy personalities and the loyalities they display daily… no matter what mood I’m in.  I also think about the way Claire’s hind wags and wags when she goes on walks, like she’s dog royalty or something!  Oh… or the time when Tori secretly stole the turkey from my Thanksgiving plate while my eyes were closed during grace.  It is these memories and these types of stories that I enjoy to recall and hear about.  Unfortunately, I just did not get enough of that in Woof!  Believe me, I wanted to.

What I can say is that the caliber of writing in this book is excellent!  These writers are obviously all experienced and each story presented itself in a professional and solid manner.  Unfortunately, the superior writing skills were not enough to tie my heart to Woof!  I actually think I loved looking at the cover more than I liked reading the book… and, I read the entire thing!

6The Rating

In the genre Short Stories, I will have to give my honest opinion and issue Woof!  a rating of 6. 

Giving Thanks

Many thanks to Penguin Books for supplying me with the book and the opportunity to review it.

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6 Responses

  1. Ladytink_534

    October 7th, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I really want this one! The cover is awesome though it doesn’t have a German Shepherd on it :(
    .-= Ladytink_534´s last blog ..Loving Chaos =-.

  2. Sandy

    October 7th, 2009 at 2:30 am

    I am an animal lover, and especially a dog lover, but I am not sure I could read this. I have such unstable emotional issues after losing my lab a handful of years ago. Even talking about her makes me cry, even after all this time. We haven’t even been able to replace her. It wouldn’t take much of a story to set me off, I don’t think. But thanks for the review! This is not your typical book you see on blogs!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Zakopane #1 =-.

  3. Molly

    October 7th, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Well, of course I was immediateley attracted to this post by the book cover!

    Great, honest review! While I might be tempted to pick up the book on a spontaneous whim, I am afraid that the stories are not for me. I still haven’t read the last two chapters of Marley and Me because I cannot face the inevitable ending. I am pathetic!
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..Audiobook Recommendations…..? =-.

  4. Kathy

    October 7th, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Our dog is creeping up on 14 so I don’t want to read stories about losing dogs either!
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Wondrous Words Wednesday =-.

  5. Jeane

    October 7th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    That cover image looks just like one I’ve seen in ads for dogfood in National Geographic. At least, I think it was dog food. Makes an awesome cover image! I might like this book, but I’m less and less a fan of short stories these days.
    .-= Jeane´s last blog ..winner! =-.

  6. Kelly B

    October 7th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I have been really trying hard to get my hubby agree to a new addition to our home in the form of a four legged lil woof woof. I am kind of on the fence because I adore them, but he is not a dog person, BUT I think he might be if he got one, because he is so loveable (my hubby). I do think I would have a rough time reading the sad parts even though I am fully aware that the loss does eventually have to come to pass. Wonderful review as always. :)

    Kelly :)
    .-= Kelly B´s last blog ..Promise Not To Tell by Jennifer McMahon =-.

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