Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Book Review: The Goodness of Dogs, by India Knight
As the subtitle of this book would suggest, this book is a little-bit-of-everything read for the dog owner, wannabe dog owner (that would be me), or the dog lover in your life. And it's delightful.
When I first heard that India Knight was going to be writing a book all about dogs, my interest was immediately piqued. I'm a big fan of Knight's writing, both fiction and non-fiction, in books and in newspapers (and in tweet form, for that matter), and generally pick up whatever book her fine mind gifts us, but the thought of a book all about dogs sounded like a real treat. I am animal crackers and in this current season, where I really, really, really would like a dog but life prevents me getting one, all books on the subject are a good thing. Gimme those cute woofers.
Poppet-cat, if you're reading this, I am entirely devoted to the feline cause as ever, fear not. I'd just like a dog as well - think of it as another subject within your Poppet realm.
The Goodness of Dogs is a fun, interesting book, with just the right balance of evidence and anecdote for me - I learned while reading but was also thoroughly entertained, and many of the chapters gave some really useful advice to the reader. The decision to adopt or buy a pet is never one that can be taken lightly and the thoughtfulness which Knight brought to the process of choosing a pet, bringing them home and training them permeates throughout those chapters. Humour and a little pop culture (I was pleased to see Best In Show get a shout out - love that movie!) help the book to steer clear of being too dry or heavy, and the narrative manages to walk a nice line between useful, actionable tips and fun, entertaining prose.
As a cat owner I've read up a lot on all things kitty, but learned so much about dogs and dog things throughout the course of the book. Not least that training a dog isn't too different to convincing me to do something - if there's cheddar involved it turns out that both a dog and I will be pretty biddable.
I couldn't possibly review this book without mentioning the beautiful illustrations by Sally Muir. Each chapter opens with a gorgeous dog portrait, and the action of the chapters is punctuated with lovely pen and ink drawings of some crafty canines too. These are really wonderful and complement the flow of the book beautifully.
If you love dogs, or if you know someone who does, I'd really recommend this book. I can think of several friends who may be finding it in their Christmas packages this year. Parts of this book made me laugh, while other parts had me welling up, but I finished it grateful for a dozen chapters in the company of some of God's furriest and funniest creations.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in return for an honest and open review.