No one brings to life the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs likeNew York Timesbestselling author Jon Katz. He has warmed our spirits with enchanting tales and keen observations of his animal menagerie-the dogs, sheep, chickens, and other residents of Bedlam Farm. Now, Katz is back with what he does best in his first collection of short stories,Dancing Dogs.
With his signature insight and gift for storytelling, Katz shares sixteen stories about one of life's most unique relationships: In the title story, a housekeeper loses her job, but discovers her four-legged "children" have some toe-tapping talents that just may get the whole family back on its feet. In "Puppy Commando," a shy grade-school outcast forges an instant connection with a beagle puppy she meets at a shelter-and risks everything to keep him. "Gracie's Last Walk" features a woman who must find a way to say goodbye to her beloved golden retriever-but ends up saying hello to someone unexpected.
In this first collection of short stories from best-selling author Katz (The Dogs of Bedlam Farm), a barn cat bonds with a farmyard rooster, a socially awkward seventh grader on a class field trip falls in love with an injured puppy, and a woman struggles to bring her deceased golden retriever to the vet via city streets and subway. Clearly, as our pets accompany us through the most difficult of human trials-coming-of-age, divorce, death-they support us while sometimes complicating matters. This is not a lighthearted romp with mischievous puppies-most of the selections here concern heart-wrenching loss and dilemma, with loneliness and isolation the common themes. The stories are hard to read but honestly done, and the most effective selections approach the world from the animal's perspective (e.g., "Lucky's Day"; "Barn Cat"). VERDICT For fans of animal stories who have recovered enough from John Grogan's Marley and Me to have another good cry (or several).-Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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September 24, 2012
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