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Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)
A Man of His Own
This was a fast, unobjectionable read. I like stories that have multiple points of view - with distinct voices for each of the main characters - and I felt that this was handled nicely, but the human protagonists remained rather flat to me. I didn't actually feel terribly engaged with any of them, and the dog was a bit too anthropomorphised for my taste. For the dept of the subject matter - marriage, war, loneliness and unrealized dreams - it felt a little over simplified. It merely skimmed the surface of these characters without providing a whole lot of insight. A good book, but not a great one for me.
BJ (Mukwonago, WI)
Support From Where You Least Expect It
Pax helps Rick, Francesca, and Keller all find their way. A good read! Change of voice throughout the book made it somewhat confusing at first, but this story would make a great book club discussion especially for young adults. The historical perspective and realistic relationship dynamics are substantive. Besides, if you love pets, especially dogs, you'll enjoy this one. They're more perceptive than we think.
Pamela D. (Wheaton, IL)
A Man of His Own
The plot of this novel is very moving and I read it through the first time in one day. The characters are well thought out and when reading about each one it is easy to emphathize with how are feeling, including Pax the dog. At first the style of having each character written in a different voice, i.e. the dog's thoughts, the wife in first person, and the two men in third person was a little distracting, but I soon got used to it. During my second reading of the book, I realized how the author used each character's "voice" to move the plot along and to really help the reader understand each viewpoint of the story. I especially felt that Pax the dog was written with great understanding of how a dog thinks and behaves. This is a very beautiful story about three humans, one dog, the love they have in common, and how that love grows and adapts as their circumstances change.
Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)
Dogs make us human
It often takes the honesty of animals to reveal our humanity, and this book highlights this as well as any. The story and timeline is not one I would typically be interested in, but the sweeping theme of our human experience and struggles along with the love of a dog pulled me in. Rather than being cliche this book is honest, warm and revealing which helps the reader through the more emotionally charged and difficult topics.
Debra P. (Belmont, NC)
Dog love and ptsd.
When I finally had the chance to start this book, I couldn't put it down. Granted, I am a HUGE dog lover and was immediately grabbed by the main character, Pax. However, I was immediately transported on a journey of love, devotion, loyalty, disappointment and healing. This is a great period piece informing the reader that PTSD is not just an Iraq/Afghanistan injury, but something experienced by many past war veterans.
Karen J. (Bremerton, WA)
I also appreciated learning about the training and use of K-9 Corp. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. and believe it will lead to some very interesting book group discussions.
I was really looking forward to this book and so was disappointed to find that I had to push my way through it. I think part of my reaction was my expectation that it would be more from the dog's perspective. This is no "Merle's Door" – a book I dearly loved. Nor is it "The Art of Racing in the Rain". It has an interesting plot although I felt as though the story was being described to me and subsequently I moved through it along the surface, never feeling engaged by or caring about the characters. I'm sure this book will have many fans. Had I not had the aforementioned books with which to compare it, I might have been one as well.
Diana W. (Shelbyville, TN)
A Dog's Men (and a Woman)
I found it difficult to finish this book--not because it isn't a good read, but because it is so well done that I sometimes had to put it aside for a while to let my emotions settle down. Anyone who has had a special dog, or any doglover for that matter, will find the book worthwhile.
Pepper E. (Lawrenceville, NJ)
I suppose one could quibble with the occasional anthropomorphic treatment of Pax's viewpoint. But that works beautifully in the context; it is kept to what is necessary for a narrative with a dog as one of the lead characters. Do yourself a favor and buy or borrow this book; as long as you have plenty of tissues, you won't regret it!
I heartily recommend this book to all dog lovers. This is a heartwarming story of a dog with two masters and some very powerful human forces with which to contend. Pax left his home to fight in the war, only to return to his family with his soldier, who hopes to keep him. I enjoyed hearing the story unfold in the different voices (I bet it's a great book on CD!). Even Pax shares his perspective. Read it with a box of tissues and a canine friend at your side.