BookBrowse Reviews Dog Years by Mark Doty

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Dog Years

A Memoir

by Mark Doty

Dog Years by Mark Doty
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2007, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2008, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A remarkable work: a moving and intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about life, love, and loss.

Doty brought Beau home in 1994 when his longtime partner, Wally Roberts, was dying of AIDS. Mistaking Beau's post-operative drugged stupor (he'd just been neutered) for a calm temperament suitable for both Wally and Arden, their mature and gentlemanly black Labrador, Doty brings 3-year-old Beau (a golden retriever) home and within moments Beau shows his true colors and total lack of training - jumping on to Wally's bed, licking his face exuberantly and devouring his lunch. Thus begins a love affair between man and dogs. After Wally's death, it is the dogs' insistent demands that life go on - meals served, walks taken and affection reciprocated - that provides Doty with the anchor he needs to see him through his desperate despair.  As time passes the dogs accept Doty's new partner, Paul, and a new family unit is formed. However, age is catching up with Arden and finally at the age of 16 he is put to sleep, but before Arden, Beau dies young from a neurological infection that is eerily reminiscent of Wally's final days - leaving Doty with his memories, as recorded in Dog Years.

Inevitably compared to Marley & Me, Doty's tone is more philosophical than sentimental, merging memoir, poetry and prose into his eulogy for his two dogs.  But Dog Years is more than a simple celebration of the relationship between a man and his dogs; Doty delves into the universal themes of life and death, grief and happiness, with the result that Dog Years has more in common with The Year of Magical Thinking than with Marley & Me.  However, Doty's earnest sincerity and relentless probing at his subject matter will not be to everyone's taste. As always, you can judge for yourself by reading an excerpt at BookBrowse.

This review was originally published in March 2007, and has been updated for the April 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

There is no worse robber than a bad book.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -