When Emily, my first dog, died in 2017, I wrote about her death for The New York Times. In the process of putting it together, someone recommended that I read The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies by Wallace Sife. The book started out okay, reassuring me that the profound grief I was under was normal. Then he veered into misogyny, particularly when writing about to child free women and grief about the death of their pets. I was so mad I almost threw it across the room.
When I went to put Annie down, I was lead into a room the animal hospital has set up for that purpose. And there it was, on the shelf: The Loss of a Pet.
“Are you fucking kidding me?!” I yelled through my tears.
I’m not happy to report that The Pet Loss Companion by Ken Dolan-Vecchio and Nancy Saxton-Lopez is a much better book, because that means I needed it. Losing one dog did not prepare me for going through it again, especially because it happened far sooner than I ever imagined. Emily was 15 years old when she died. Annie […]
I don’t know if it’s fair for me to write a review of The Mothers by Brit Bennett. When I started the book, my dog was either lying next to me on the grass when I read outside; or at my feet when I read inside. When I finished it, she was gone. I still read the book, but my brain was only making a glancing connection with the material.
But here’s what I can say:
The Mothers is about Nadia [corrected thanks to a reader], a 17 year old whose mother just died by suicide. The Mothers of the title are olden women who are members of a Black church, and they act as an omnipotent Greek chorus narrating the novel. Her father is the guy with a truck who helps everyone out. From the jump, we know that Aubrey had an abortion, and that news of it eventually gets out.
When and how is part of the plot, so I won’t spoil it here. I’ve seen other contemporary writers try to use a Greek chorus before, and Bennett is the best one to do it yet.
However, the last third of the story unraveled, with the primary players making decisions that […]
Hey folks, I’m going to take some time off from writing the blog, for a very sad reason. Annie Oakley Tater Tot, the action adventure wonder dog, died on Tuesday. She was only nine years old. It was very fast and sudden. I had six years with her, and it’ll never feel like enough.
I’ve shared more here. In addition to being the perfect travel companion, she was also my reading buddy, usually snuggled up right to me while I did so. I already miss her so much.
I was interviewing someone for a story yesterday and we got onto a tangent about books we loved, and books we didn’t. We both agreed that perhaps we have reached an age where certain books are Not For Us because we are Old. I felt that way about Sally Rooney’s Normal People. And I also felt that way, though to a lesser extent, about Emma Cline’s The Guest.
It’s a novel about Alex, a sex worker who has joined her much older boyfriend at his beach house in Long Island. Even though he isn’t paying here, there is clearly an exchange. She can live with him without holding down a job, and he buys her jewelry, bags and clothes. They’re not what she would purchase for herself, but they represent what he wants her to be, as appropriate arm candy for dinners and parties he takes her to around the island.
After doing something he didn’t like at one such party, he tells her to go back to New York. She pretends to, but doesn’t. The rest of the book is what she does while waiting until his big Labor Day party, where she assumes he’ll welcome her back with […]