Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spoiler Alert: The Dog Doesn’t Die

I had put off reading Oogy: The Dog Only A Family Could Love because, after one look at the cover, my imagination filled in the horrors that undoubtedly lurked in the story. I didn’t think I could bear the tale.

However, in my efforts to steel myself to push through the disturbing sections of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, I gave Oogy a try. And I finished it! All of it—no skipping.

Do I recommend it? Hmm. It’s a first-time book for Oogy’s guardian, Larry Levin, and there were many times when I wished the dog’s story had been in the hands of a more consummate wordsmith. On the other hand, I sympathize with Levin’s desire to share Oogy’s giant personality with a broad audience and I admire him for undertaking the task himself.

Upon reaching the final page, I didn’t feel that sweet sorrow that washes over readers who yearn to continue clinging voyeuristically to a book’s characters. I was struck, though, with a fervent desire to meet Oogy—to stroke his singleton ear and gaze into his lopsided eyes and sample the extraordinary affection he bestowed on his family over the years. This is Larry Levin’s achievement with his debut memoir: getting readers to appreciate Oogy as Levin experienced him.

So should you read Oogy? Only if you want to meet a unique Dogo Argentino who oozes heart. The book is easy to read; the pooch will be hard to forget.

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