Troy’s Book-Club: The Dog Year by Ann Garvin

How people come to read the books they do could be an interesting study (heck, I imagine many a market research firm has already done this work). For me, I usually hear about a book or author from a friend or associate, or maybe see an article about it online somewhere. In this nifty day and age though, social media has become another way to become aware of books and authors. Some time ago, I don’t even remember how, I heard of Ann Garvin on Twitter. I looked at her tweets, she seemed a nice sort, and WI-based, so I began following her. I wasn’t necessarily her target audience, as she’s maybe more a “women’s writer”, but still, her latest book was called “The Dog Year” and that appealed to me, as the woman I was dating at the time was a “dog person.” Then, some odd months later, I was in Boswell Books, and there by the check-out register was Ann’s book. I was no longer dating the aforementioned woman, but was still following Ann on Tw, and so impulse-bought the book. Now, I’ve just finished the book, and am quite glad I picked it up back then!

The Dog Year is the the story about a woman trying to move forward after a devastating loss in her life. There are (not quite legal) coping mechanisms acquired, repercussions tied to those actions, new relationships formed (friendly some, romantic (maybe) one). While the book is told from a woman’s perspective, I would hesitate to call this a “women’s book”. It’s a book filled with interesting characters, a compelling plot, dog rescues, people rescues, and story-turns I didn’t anticipate. Ultimately, I think it’s a book about coming to terms with loss, and how we try to move our lives forward without feeling guilty for doing so, as though we may be “cheating” on what we’d once had. Everyone, man or woman, suffers loss at some time. And, I think, many of us struggle with processing those losses. Having gone through a divorce in 2011, there were more than a few points in this book where I had some similar feelings to the main character, Lucy. As with many pains in life, it’s sometimes easier to handle when you realize you’re not the only one who’s felt that way. And that right there is a big lesson in this book – at least that’s the biggie I got from it –> let people in.

The Dog Year is a fun, sincere read. Heck, I bet it’d make a good film, too. Hopefully some savvy exec will option it and bring Lucy, Little Dog, and Co. to the big screen. Till then, go to your local, independent bookstore and buy it, or go to your library and check it out!

Again, a neat part of this book-experience was because of Twitter. Thanks to Tw, Ann and I were able to have a brief conversation about the book. It’s pretty darn neat getting to give your compliments directly to an author, and to know that they’ve “heard” them.

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