Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review - Comet's Tale, Steven Wolf

Comet’s Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life


Steven Wolf, Lynette Padwa

Category:  Nonfiction: Memoir: Animals; Dogs; Disabilities

Synopsis: Wolf, suffering from a spinal condition, rescues a retired greyhound, Comet, and teaches her to be his service animal.

Date finished: 8 August 2013

Rating: ****

I simultaneously love animal books and loathe them. But mostly I loathe them because they can be so sad. I save the last couple chapters of Marley and Me for months before I had the guts to finish it. It all started with Where the Red Fern Grows in Mrs. DeJarlais’ third grade classroom. (Raise your hand if Where the Red Fern Grows destroyed you.) Of course, that doesn’t stop me from buying them, letting them sit on the shelf awhile, then taking a deep breath and digging in.

This one came highly recommended, but while it was good, it wasn’t great. The author is opposed to the anthropomorphizing animals, but he does it in this book. A lot. And that didn’t really bother me, per se, but it did make me feel the teeniest bit manipulated. And it made me distrust the story. I really liked Comet, but I’ll never know how much of what I like is Comet and how much is in the imagination of Steve Wolf.

The idea of a greyhound being a service animal is interesting in and of itself. I enjoyed reading about how Comet was trained, and how much of what she learned she learned intuitively. And I for one would love to see a greyhound pulling a man in a wheelchair through an airport at top speed!

My trouble with the book was the humans, not the dog. I wasn’t enamored of Wolf, but his wife and daughters were childish, selfish people. It bothered me that they seemed to sever ties with Wolf as he became more and more disabled and came around when he had a successful back surgery. Wolf seems to brush it away and doesn’t seem all that bothered by it, but either I missed something or he did, because what he relates of the mean way his wife talks to him and how his daughters just stop talking to him altogether was unpleasant enough that I didn’t want to read about it.

So, my rating is for Comet and Comet alone.

And at least one half of a star is given for the very fact that the book doesn’t end with a dog death like all the others do! Hurrah!

Would you recommend this to a friend?
Yes, I think so.

You might also enjoy:
Marley and Me by John Grogan (naughty dog)
The Good, Good Pig by Sy Montgomery (huge pig)
Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper (blind cat)
Dewey by Vicki Myron (library cat)

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