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.
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.
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.
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!
Pepper E. (Lawrenceville, NJ)
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.
Nan G. (Mazomanie, WI)
The perfect fall read
Stunning in its simplicity and grace, A Man of His Own touched this reader deeply. The characters, including and most importantly, Pax, felt authentic and the subject is one that is particularly timely. Wilson has written a book that I will recommend to anyone wanting to know more about the bond between service animals and their companions.
Linda M. (Three Oaks, MI)
A Man of His Own by Susan Wilson
Give me a book with a dog as a main character and, in my opinion, you have the makings of a great story. I should mention I am the owner of three dogs and two cats, so there is a little prejudice here. Regardless, this was a great read with a lot more going on than just the bond between man and animal. Rick Stanton, a professional baseball player, had his career cut short due to debilitating injuries suffered during World War II. His lovely wife, Francesca, while coping with his physical injuries must also wade through the psychological scars that come with a loss of limb and heart. And then there is Keller Nicholson, a man with no real emotional roots, who forges the strongest of relationships with Pax, Rick's and Francesca's dog, whom they volunteered for the military's K-9 program during the war. The four of them come together under one roof and the dynamic that plays out is very complex with Pax serving as the conduit between the three of them. Wilson builds the drama as Rick starts the slow slide to suicide while Francesca and Keller negotiate through a fragile relationship. Francesca is almost saintly in her devotion to her husband, but Wilson plays the attraction between her and Keller with great aplomb. You really have to get to the end of the book to see how it all comes together. Finally, Ms. Wilson deftly incorporates the important role the K-9 patrols played in aiding soldiers during war and how valuable an asset these wonderful animals can be to those who are infirmed.
Vicki O. (Boston, MA)
Let there be Pax
I requested this book because I enjoy books in which dogs play a major role and that was certainly the case with this engrossing and sensitive novel. When, in the Prologue we meet the Pax, puppy abandoned by his mother, it is pretty clear that he is a survivor and is sure to become pivotal in the lives of the other characters, Richard, Francesca and Keller. And that he does. The author tells the story from the point of view of each character, including Pax, and it is very effective. There are dog books and there are dog books and this is one that soars to the top of my list.
Patricia S. (Yankton, SD)
Be prepared to cry
Every dog should have a man of his own. Pax is one lucky dog. He has two. Very different, but each tugging equally at his heart, Pax must serve both the master who rescued him as a cold starving pup and the master he rescued from a lonely, loveless life. The bonds forged by war and suffering expand to include both men, dog, and woman as Pax illustrates the power of love to heal and endure. The ending of this novel is not only appropriate but magical. This is a book that touches the heart. While a love of dogs doesn't hurt, it may enhance the appeal of this enthralling novel by Susan Wilson.