Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Image from Library Thing
Each time we take a road trip I look for a book that I can read aloud in the car. It makes the miles go faster and gives me the joy of reading aloud. Something I really miss since my girls are grown and I am not teaching 4th graders anymore.

As we were preparing to go to Virginia for a college graduation I grabbed this book off the bedside table where it had laid since I had given this to my husband a couple of Christmas' ago.  It was the PERFECT book for this road trip!  

Now before October I would have thought this book was rather ridiculous...but in October we become the proud parents of a Maltese Yorkie mix and as I read the story of Bailey and her search for a purpose - it made so much more sense.

This book follows Bailey through a series of lives. She/he is born as a puppy and lives out each life feeling that it is complete - yet he comes back again.

Now - I do not believe in reincarnation.  But there is something compelling about this dog's search.  Each life adds information and experience - preparing him for the final act - when everything comes together.  

I have to admit that I had to stop more than once as I read voice would choke and the tears would run.  I love books like that!  This story also made me rethink some of my reactions and training practices with our dog, Penny.   I especially appreciated his explanation of how hard it was for Baility understand potty training! :)  

Anyway - this is a great book for dog lovers and owners. It made me appreciate the commitment that we have agreed to as we become a pet owner and joy that comes as our little dog rushes to greet me each night I come home from work!  

The Clover House by Henriette Lazaridis Power

Image from Library thing

This is the story of Calliope - a woman in search of an anchor, a woman wallowing in her mother's indifference, a woman who uses circumstances around her to justify the inevitability of her aloneness, one really sad lady!

This is also the story of Calliope - a woman surrounded with a great big Greek family, a woman loved and cared for by Jonah, a woman divided between her mother's Greece and her own American homeland.

This is also the story of the fingers of war and the long-term suffering that are held in their grip.

This is a story of existence - of living anyway - of sadness, and happiness, and rebirth and death and families and love and endurance and life.

The story moves between current day Greece as Calliope flies from Boston to sort through her uncle's home - the one that he left for her.  Calliope must face her mother, who lives in Greece, as she sorts through the collections of Nestor, the almost hoarder uncle.  Clio, Calliope's mom, is distant and distracted, and neglectful and mean.  And as Calliope sorts through the strands of life buried in Nestor's house she also discovers the hidden stories her mother only partially told.

But, the reader sees it all. Power moves the telling between Calliope's version in current day and Clio's life in prewar Greece.  We see the actual story through Clio's eyes and are able to hold that against the partial truth's that she shares with Calliope.

I liked this story - but even as I read I felt there were more layers that were too hard for Clio to tell even to her all seeing reader.  This, made me think again and again of the thousands of versions we tell ourselves of the events that enfold us. This follows a family's fall from great wealth to ruin during an impossible time.  And though we feel we are seeing it all as Clio remembers, we aren't.  It still holds the romanticized feeling of stories our grandparent's told.  Refrains we know and can repeat along with them.  So reality becomes what we want it to be - not what it really is.

It made me consider again the 'head' talks I have with myself - the things I believe as the truth and how they may or may not be reality.

Very interesting!