Wednesday, Oct 7, 2009
Publisher: Penguiun Books
ISBN #: 978-0-14-311600-4
Type: Short Stories
Pages: 243 Trade Paperback
Published: September 2009
Purchase: $11.70 (HERE)
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.
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!
In the genre Short Stories, I will have to give my honest opinion and issue Woof! a rating of 6.
Many thanks to Penguin Books for supplying me with the book and the opportunity to review it.