Monday, August 31, 2009

(73) A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

I love puppy dogs. There. I said it. This does not come as a shock to anyone who has been in my presence for more than five minutes. Because you probably heard at least one Bailey-the-Big-Black-Dog story.

I was interested in Dean Koontz's new book, A Big Little Life just because I wanted to see how a big shot author lives his life with a dog. As you may have already figured out from reading my blog, I have not read a lot of Dean Koontz. I have dozens of his books on my shelf, but have not read a single one of them. So I admit, I had some preconceived notions about his writing style and what goes on in his mind.

I was way, way wrong. Dean Koontz has written a tribute to his dog, Trixie, that will have you laughing out loud. Not in a Marley & Me way, not at the antics of his dog, but at his self effacing, somewhat self deprecating humor. It is hysterical.

As the reader must now realize, this is not going to be a memoir about a pillow-destroying, cat-chasing, furniture-chewing miscreant kind of canine.

Mr Koontz goes on to tell us the stories of Trixie's life. She came to them as a retired service dog. Thanks to her training, her manners were impeccable. Her personality allowed her to make friends wherever she went. She had a way about her that endeared her to anyone and everyone. And I think Mr Koontz conveys his awe of dogs with this line.

A dog can be a living work of art, a constant reminder of the exquisite design of breathtaking detail of nature, beauty on four paws.

I learned a lot about the man, Dean Koontz, and I have to admit that with every page I turned, my admiration for the man grew. Not only is he a one of the most successful writers of his time, of all time actually, but he is a man who is totally and completely devoted to his wife, his friends, and most of all, his fur-kids. It is an admirable trait.

I was really skeptical about reading a memoir by Dean Koontz, my judgment clouded by what I *thought* I knew about the author. In A Big Little Life I found a man with a kind heart, a gentle soul, and a wicked sense of humor. It sounds so cliche, but I laughed & I cried. Of course I cried, as one of my booksellers says "NO, dog book is going to have a happy ending!", but it is such a poignant memoir, I would hate for you to miss out on Trixie's story.


Brandie said...

I've got to read this book! Thanks for the review!

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

You will have to let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

My book club read Watchers one month. I didn't think much going into it because I don't read too much horror. Not only was it a surprisingly good horror book but we all fell in love with the dog. The scenes with the dog were much better than the scenes with the humans. I actually cried in the end.

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

He references The Watchers quite often in the book. And the research he did for that book & some of his other books led him to the Canine Companions for Independence organization that he & his wife are heavily involved with.

I will have to find a copy of the Watchers & read it.

christine (booktumbling) said...

Okay so is it a bad sign that I have tears just reading your review! I have been putting this one off. I read Marly and the The Art of Racing in the Rain within 2 months of the each other. I need to recover. Love your blog and love dogs too!

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

Thank you, Christine!

Seanna said...

Not every Koontz book is a masterpiece, but Watchers is one of his best. Also try Lightning and The Bad Place. The Odd Thomas series is worth a read as well. And Relentless, the newest, is quite good. I would put it right up there with Watchers.

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

It really sounds like I need to find a copy of The Watchers. Thank you for the recommendations, Seanna.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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