Wednesday, May 09, 2007
'A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story' by Charles Emery
Title: A Man and his Maniac: The Bunkie Story
Author: Charles Emery
Publisher/Point of Sale: Lulu
The Bunkie Story has many of the qualities of a good dog. It is straight forward, good humored and worth an hour or two of anyone’s time. I smiled, I laughed, I actually cried at the end. Anyone who’s been there at the end for a dog knows what that is like. Any dog owner worth there salt will recognize these experiences: from the wry mundanity of stepping barefoot on dog shit and the moments you think ‘yup, that dog is dead’ only to find they are way more resilient than you imagine—to the moments of pure insight and satisfaction that can only happen when you work with dogs and spend a lot of time with them (sheep dogs in my case rather than gun dogs, but the principle is the same).
I could safely predict the author and I have very little in common other than a love of dogs and the good fortune to have spent a lot of time with some very fine dogs. We may in fact be polar opposites on just about every other issue that could possibly be imagined but when it comes to dogs, that doesn’t matter. I loved this book. There were really only two, well, not sour notes but perhaps some elements falling a bit flat for me. One was after the seventh or eighth mention of the ‘future ex wife’ where I felt that wry humor was tipping over into an unwelcome hint of bitterness, and an epilogue that introduces a ‘God’ element that might be less universal than the central ‘dog’ element—at least amongst the audience likely to pick up a book with a puppy on the cover.
The Bunkie Story is widely accessible because it is a specific story told plainly but with considerable insight. On the whole I would not hesitate to recommend this book which chronicles much of what is remarkable and uplifting about sharing our lives with dogs. I look forward to Mr. Emery's future works.
POD Critic 7.5
Mrs. Giggles 7.8