Sunday, March 6, 2016

Book Review: A Dog Named Jimmy (white bull terrier photos)

A Dog Named Jimmy, by Rafael Mantesso (Avery/Penguin Random House, 2015, 160 pages, $19.95)

Jimmy Who? Jimmy Choo, That’s Who!

The Jimmy in A Dog Named Jimmy is actually a dog named Jimmy Choo, named in part for the shoe designer – but only in part. The author-artist had a memorable 30th birthday - his wife left him and took everything. Everything, that is, but the most important thing: Jimmy the dog.

Five pages of a funny story worth reading followed by more than a hundred photos that are creatively remarkable, outstanding, impressive, extraordinary, unforgettable, and more.

As a buddy once told me when he saw a Bull Terrier, “That’s a dog so ugly only his owner could love him.” However, after seeing the cover of A Dog Named Jimmy, and reading the hilariously heartwarming story of Jimmy, and going over his photos over and over again, you will fall in love with Jimmy like I did.

Book reviewers obtain their material in one of several ways: usually sent by authors or publishers or purchased in bookstores (hopefully small independent bookstores) and sometimes in second-hand bookstores and, generally, when we are sent a copy, gratis, to review, it is not ethical to then sell that copy or even gift it (though when sent more than one copy, we sometimes donate one to a shelter or rescue for their library or silent auction). I purchased Jimmy and he is one of the few that I cannot bear to pass on to anyone else!

I keep thumbing through Jimmy, almost daily (well, nightly), changing my mind about which photos are my favorites.

What’s it all about?

Jimmy is a collection of photos of a mostly white dog on mostly white backgrounds with simple-to-intricate objects drawn in, in black. For example, the cover shows Jimmy’s head, mouth open wide as if singing – so a microphone is drawn nearby! Mostly Jimmy is sleeping in different positions, as dogs are wont to do, or sitting and looking up.

Drawings with Jimmy illustrate the culture of the world, even the world of literature, and you will smile when you recognize Jimmy sitting next to ‘Charlie Chaplin,’ or leaping over a ‘fence’ chasing ‘sheep,’ or with ‘antlers’ drawn coming out of his head making him a four-point buck, or wearing ‘dark glasses’ and ‘playing a piano’ a la Ray Charles, or peering into an old ‘Victrola,’ or ‘juggling tennis balls,’ or wearing the ‘cone of shame with someone inserting a huge olive on a long toothpick into the cone’ as if putting an olive into a martini glass or. . . .

Is it too early to pick DogEvals’ Book of the Year?

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