Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book review: I Want to Kill the Dog (dog, memoir)

I Want to Kill the Dog, by Richard M. Cohen (Penguin, 2012, 125 pages, $21.95)

Thank Goodness for Libraries!

My local bookstore displayed I Want to Kill the Dog but I just couldn’t decide whether or not to purchase it. After a few visits of purchasing other dog books, my indecision turned into negative action. Thank goodness for public libraries!

If you like the title, you may like or even love the book. If the title bothers you, you probably won’t like the book. But it is small enough to finish anyway, at 125 small-sized pages. The book is about 8” by 5” and about 18 cents per page – a bit much for what you get.

Like Diane Rehm’s book about her dog, Life with Maxie, this is a little book that was no doubt published due to the fact that the author (or, in this case, the author’s spouse) is a public figure. Both are memoirs about dogs: the former, about one dog, and the latter, about several family dogs. Both are about as interesting as watching a blue sky do what it does best – nothing - or watching an elephant sleep.

Family Memoir

However, if I were one of the author’s grown kids, I would probably love this little book for the family memories (and groans) it brings up. In that case, I would ask for an autographed copy and cherish it to pass down to my children.

Cute Dog

I Want does, however, have a cute premise (and an even cuter cover) – that of a dog-person married to a non-dog person, the author. The dog person is Meredith Vieira, television reporter. The author, her husband, an author in his own right, a father, and award-winning news network person.

Caveat: For those of you, like myself, a dog trainer who does not espouse shock collars or electronic shock fences, this book may make you squirm (or worse) when reading the chapter about the glee (and revenge) Richard Cohen experienced when implementing shock on his ‘misbehaving’ dog. There are other, less aversive methods of ‘training’ dogs than using pain and fear.

Definitely a book on this reviewer’s “Z List.”

Disclaimer: I checked this book out of my public library.

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