Saturday, December 31, 2016

Book Review: Let Me Tell You About Jasper (dog, easy reader, Photoshop photos)

Let Me Tell You About Jasper. . .: How My Best Friend Became America’s Dog , by Dana Perino (Hachette, 259 pages, 2016, $27)

Couldn’t Wait for Jasper!

I am so glad my public library has this book and I didn’t have to either purchase it or request the publisher to send me a review copy – I simply couldn’t wait. But I should have. . . .

For Family, Friends and Fans

Let Me Tell You About Jasper. . . is a book with a special audience, an exclusive limited readership – an audience of family members, friends, and fans of Dana Perino and of others like her who call themselves Dog Moms and those just on the other side of the fine line of dog owners. Jasper’s audience is similar to that of Diane Rehm’s book Life with Maxie and Richard Cohen’s I Want to Kill the Dog, books by famous people*, written for and read mostly by their families.

What DogEvals did like was the size of the dog, a Vizsla! And we got a kick out of some of the Photoshop photos.

Who is Dana Perino? Who is Jasper?

America has certainly heard of Dana Perino, the former press secretary – now with a show or two of her own on Fox TV. And many more people seem to be fans of Jasper, her Vizsla. Jasper follows on the heels of Henry, another Vizsla of Perino’s.

From Colorado and Wyoming where dogs are dogs, to England and California and Washington, D.C., and New York City where dogs have to adjust and adapt to weather and noise and lack of greenery but, if you are a dog with a wealthy family, you have a dog walker and spend weekends at the beach or in the country. Ah! And you get to shine on TV just by being a dog!

She has Style

Perino has a conversational writing style that is lovely at first but is probably better in short stories than repeated too often in a book. She probably writes like she talks, as most people talk – in short sentences.

If I closed my eyes, I could imagine Jasper having been written by a high school sophomore. I wonder about Perino’s first book, And The Good News Is . . . .
I do believe I will take a quick look at it and I would probably recommend reading it first or at least becoming way more familiar with Perino than I am.

The reader realizes that Perino is a young privileged wonder woman (partially due to her appearance, an unfortunate fact of life for women on TV) who amazingly snagged a national level job at a very young age (press secretary for nearly eight years).

Photos Galore

The photos, however, in Jasper and of Jasper are creative and unique: literally half the book consists of page-sized photos of Jasper  reminiscent of Wegman’s weimeraners – Jasper on the cover of TIME magazine as Dog of the Year, Jasper playing golf and tennis, Jasper as Indiana Jones on a movie poster, to name just a few photos created by an anonymous (to the reader) Jasper- and Dana-fan.

Tribute to Dogs

Like Diane Rehm’s book, Life with MaxieLet Me Tell You About Jasper. . . is quite the book for family and friends. Both might be better as short children’s books.

Although Perino states she is not a dog trainer, she then proceeds to write about how to train dogs using rather old-fashioned methods of housetraining and terminology: fortunately most dogs are resilient, as were Henry and Jasper.

*the author is the other half of Meredith Vieira

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