11 August 2009
I just finished reading "Dog Years" by Mark Doty. To be honest, I bought this book from the bargain table at Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago mainly because I liked the picture of the dogs on the cover and I may have recently watched the movie of "Marley & Me" so I was susceptible to dog stories. However, my expectations weren't high and I anticipated a light, perhaps somewhat maudlin read when I picked it off my shelf last week.
On the contrary, I was completely blown away by this book. Sadly, I am not a talented enough book reviewer to explain why, but I can say that the writing is truly gorgeous and while the subject is rather sentimental it is unbelievably well handled with both tenderness and honesty. Even though you know what happens in this story throughout, the telling is so wonderful that I wished it wouldn't end. Tears fell from my eyes on more than one occasion while reading. Tears for the story, tears for Rob and Spanky, and tears for Chief -- for the love I have for him now as well as the inevitable. It is actually a beautiful love story.
Mark Doty is a poet and that skill is evident throughout this book. Much of the prose is wonderfully poetic in its styling and phrasing. There are also lots of Emily Dickinson quotes as well as others (my favorite is from "The House Dog's Grave").
Even if you prefer cats, I suggest you give this book a read.