Author: Jane Vandenburgh
Publish Date: April 2, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're looking for something serious.
- You like animals.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "The author calls this "a true romance,” saying, it’s the part of her personal history she, being superstitious, was almost afraid to write. She’d grown up accustomed to bad luck, but had, by accident or miracle, survived her own circumstances: being orphaned, her own misspent youth, the chaos of a broken marriage. She’d more than survived, she’d even triumphed and had awakened into a kind of charmed splendor to find herself living in a white marble city with storybook castles, knowing famous people, being invited to the White House to listen to her husband discuss Yeats with the President of the United States, as Bill Clinton drinks Diet Coke from the can.
And into this fabled chapter of the writer’s life comes the perfect dog, an English Springer Spaniel named Whistler who arrives not only the family pet, but as her private symbol of triumph over all that age-old sadness. She wants to ignore it but can’t help but see that their perfect pup is something of a neurotic mess, snarling at manhole covers, barking at children, growling at people in wheelchairs.
The writer herself is not seemingly done with the anxieties born of all that early trauma and loss, and she begins to worry obsessively about losing this difficult dog, the one they so love. Wrrrrnnnggdgggg! she begins to dream. Wrrrrrnnnnng dgggg!
My Two Cents:
In "The Wrong Dog Dream," Vandenburgh and her family buy an English Springer Spaniel (this is obviously not him on the cover, indeed it is the wrong dog) after reading about the specific characteristics of his breed (I could go on a tirade about why you should adopt a dog and not buy one as purebred dogs often have a lot of issues and don't always fit into the neat categories of how their breed is supposed to be but I will try very, very hard to restrain myself) and after countless hours of tedious training, they are surprised when their dog seems to still be kind of neurotic.
Vandenburgh herself ran into a lot of issues, traumas, and heartbreaks in her own life and believes having Whistler, the dog, and keeping him is a symbol of her overcoming some of her own hurdles. This book was a lot more serious than I was expecting. The author weaves in stories about the things that Whistler did and some of her own background as a writer.
Much of the story is set in Washington, D.C. and as Vandenburgh is not a native Washingtonian, she had a very interesting take on my city and its denizens. I really liked seeing my city through a set of new eyes. I liked that she talked about some of the neighborhoods that she and Whistler walked through and some of his antics on their various walks. It was a really interesting perspective on a place that I know so well.
Overall: this book is for animal lovers who want a more serious take on what it means to be a pet owner and to have that pet become a true part of the family.