By: Anna Quindlen
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: November 2007
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 2008
I enjoy Anna Quindlen’s writing and have read several of her books including Blessings and Black and Blue. Each story took me on a journey to a wonderful place, where characters came to life and events were vividly described. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that she had written a story about her dog Beau. The topic was quite different from the others she has chosen to write about.
It was obvious from first glance that the book was really more of an essay rather than a story. To say that it was light reading would be an understatement. I read this "book" slowly and it still only took me 20 minutes to complete. There are lots of pictures of adorable dogs, as many pictures, I think, as there are pages of text. Although I enjoyed the photography, I would have preferred more writing and less pictures. These photos seemed to be there for filler, especially since none of the dogs were identified.
The essay itself was a pleasant read, although it got off to a rough start. It seemed as though Quindlen was unable to pinpoint what she wanted to say, and the story wandered, a jumble of disjointed thoughts and experiences with her dog Beau. At the halfway mark, Quindlen settled down and wrote about what her dog gave to her, her family, and how his wonderful outlook on life was something to be cherished. For that, Good Dog, Stay is worth reading.
One final comment, something that really bothered me: Quindlen frequently mentioned how Beau would run loose around their country home, getting lost, or finding neighbors' trash cans and destroying their contents, as though this habit was something to be encouraged in her dog. It seemed like something she seemed proud to share with the reader. I kept wondering what her neighbors thought about the mess Quindlen’s dog created, and how they must have hated having a loose dog in the neighborhood. Twice she told of how Beau disliked horses, and also how he liked to "try to drive a horse from his stretch of the road." Quindlen may think this is cute, but very few horses enjoy being chased by dogs. It is extremely dangerous and I personally know somebody who wound up in a hospital because the dog's owner thought this trait in their dog was cute. Please, Ms. Quindlen, be a responsible dog owner and keep your future dogs on leashes!
Quill says: A good book as long as you don’t mind paying $14.95 for a 96 page book with a lot of pictures.