“ Paperback: 272 pages / Publisher: Penguin / Published: 15 Aug 2008 „
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My Life with George: The Inspirational Story of How a Willful Dog Brought Joy to a Bereaved Family
By Judith Summers
Amazon £5.99 or £1.23 plus P&P used
Having enjoyed a few animal stories recently I spotted this on my Bookcrossing shelf in Derby Westfield center and thought I'd give it a read. The dog on the front was pretty appealing and I am a sucker for a cute face.
Description from Amazon:
When Judith Summers's husband and father both died within the space of two weeks, she found herself floundering. Life for her and her eight-year-old son Joshua seemed relentlessly bleak. Then George bounced into their lives.
A loving Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with film-star looks, George re-awoke their joie de vivre. Yet Judith soon discovered that living with George had its drawbacks. He was a full-time job and as expensive to run as a Ferrari. "
The book is written in an easy going chatty sort of way and we move from the author feeling totally empty after losing her husband and her looking back at their time together. She then is very concerned about how the heavy cloud that sat in their house would affect their son who missed his father too.
I think it was the son who suggested getting a dog and initially Judith was dead set against it but they went along to a dog show. This wasn't the kind of show where dogs are paraded but one where you met different breeds and their owners and learned a bit more about which bred you may want to have as a pet.
The next stage was to visit a breeder who had a new litter of puppies. The author was not too thrilled at the idea of a new puppy and starting to toilet train a puppy. They ended up buying a pupy from the previous litter that the breeder had wanted to keep called George.
George arrived and they were not really prepared as they had gone to look at new born puppies and came back with five month old George. He refused to sleep in the bed they made for him and ended up in her bedroom in the bad made for him but then crept up onto her bed. This was the first of the rules that were not to be broken that broke straight away.
I have to say if I was looking for a dog Judith Summer's description of King Charles' spaniels would not sell them to me. They look very sweet but appear to have problems that are many and varied. She describes some of the less appealing ones in detail and is a woman after my own style of dog owning and takes George to the vet regularly in order to have these less pleasant things done to save her doing them.
George was not an easy dog to live with but he did give both Judith and her son a focus in their lives . George was very fond of eating paper which was tricky as Judith is a writer and also when it went through George it had strange repercussions.
He was not so keen on walks and actually preferred to travel in the car. He behaved in a very challenging way whenever Judith brought a new man into their lives and he cost a small fortune in vet's bills yet they loved him.
I have to say I am not sure I would have been as tolerant as Judith was of his very demanding behaviour and certainly would not have given in to the diet George insisted upon!
I found the book an easy read but I wasn't as taken with the story as I was with 'Marley and Me'. I don't think it had anything to do with the story but more with the telling. I liked the sense of humour in the writing style of John Grogan more than I did Judith Summers. Somehow he was funnier and described things with more humour. Judith was quite witty but I didn't warm to her style in the same way. I also didn't warm to George in the same way as I did to Marley as George's behaviour seemed to me to be more calculated while Marley had a zest for life and blundered through regardless of the chaos caused.
I think Judith Summers' wrote this as sort of therapy for herself and it is as must the story of her grief and how she coped as it is about George and his often less than charming behaviour. I have to be honest hear and say I know that Ms Summers has written a second book about George or similar and I will not be buying this nor will I bother to pick it up through book crossing as I think I have got the idea of the story now and don't really want to find out any more.
It is not that her writing is bad because it is not. It is just I am not taken by her style of writing nor grabbed by her sense of humour. George and his behaviour I found would have really annoyed me and I didn't find it endearing at all. He was a very pretty dog but his character and behaviour traits I found annoying rather than charming.
I think it was the general tone of the book. I found it annoying that no effort wa made to train or discipline the dog and yet spend a lot of time either complaining or laughing at George's indiscretions.
However if you think beyond the antics of George the story is quite heart warming as it is really about how one family dealt with their own personal bereavement but to me it just didn't make good reading in my view.
I am sorry but this one just didn't appeal to me very much but it may just be me. I much preferred 'Marley and Me' which was humorous and uplifting while this was not so funny and although I felt for the family it is not a story that I would choose for entertainment.
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