Sunday, July 3, 2016

Book, DVD Review: A Dog Year (border collie, hyper dog, farm) Part Two

A Dog Year*, based on the Jon Katz 2003 book of the same name, starring Jeff Bridges (HBO Studios, 79 minutes, 2010, $11.79, Rated R [possibly for strong language])


There are two kinds of writers who pen dog books: those who are primarily dog people such as trainers or academics, and those who are primarily reporters who research dogs in the hopes of getting it right. Both kinds can write a good dog book but my money is on the former rather than the latter**. However, if the author is an English professor, I will grab the book with gusto and I am seldom disappointed.

Our lovable, delightful, friendly neighborhood curmudgeon, Katz, defies being categorized – he is an author who wakes up to dogs late in life and writes about his relationship with dogs, many of them challenging canines. His writing style is magically mesmerizing, as if he is telling a story (which he is). You will take his books with you everywhere, hoping for a few minutes to sneak in a couple more pages.

Prolific and Sensitive

Author of 14 dog books in as many years plus a children’s book, Katz is someone I want to meet. A couple of years ago, I had a plan to read everything by one dog author in January, everything by another in February, etc. Dodson, Coren, McConnell and Katz were on my list but I had forgotten all about my plan until just now. Is it too late?

The Book and the Movie. But Where’s the Review?

It has been a few years since I read the book - only a few days since we saw the movie, but I recall fewer pages devoted to the two angelic yellow labs (Stanely and Julius) in the book and more pages about Katz and Devon-the-dog. As Devon doesn’t fit in with Katz, so, too, does Katz all of a sudden not fit in to his world of family and writing – could it be a mid-life crisis? Will he have to get away to find his way with the help of a difficult dog?

I believe the book has more to savor unless you fall in love with Jeff Bridges. He is, perhaps, the only man for the role, but there is still something missing and I can’t put my finger on it unless it is the memory of the book. However, once having seen the movie, you will read some if not all of the Katz books, so, that’s not a bad thing!

*A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me (Random House, 224 pages, 2002, $11.86)

**This, the fact that Katz seems to be a novice in the world of dogs has caused some consternation among dog people

Caveat: DogEvals purchases products for review unless otherwise stated. This DVD was borrowed from the public library. The reviewer has most of Katz’ other dog books and has purchased most of them.

Tomorrow: The list of  Jon Katz books for you to start on!

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