2012: Books 1 and 2

My literary calendar rolls over on December 25th, not with the calendar. So, my 2012 in books began a week ago, and I already have two notches in my belt. They were both on the shorter side, and I’ve been couch-bound with a cold, but it makes me feel some good momentum in my quest for 25.

You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam

228 pages
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read a handful of dog books, fiction and non, but this one has been the best. I think maybe it’s a better “dog book” because it was about a woman who is involved with a rescue* group, so it’s more than “here are a bunch of general things about dogs” or “here’s a bunch of stuff my dog did.” Focusing the stories around different dogs and people she met through he rescue group makes for more diverse material.

I giggled out loud at “I’m a FANCY LADY” and cried while reading on the bus when I got to the section about Moses. Too short! I’ll be checking out the author’s other books for sure.

(*Side note: I kind of hate the term “rescue” as it pertains to dogs. When people ask me if I “rescued” Harper I tell them no, I didn’t pull him out of a burning building or anything, but yes we adopted him from a shelter, where he undoubtedly would have gone home with someone that weekend. He had just arrived and is small and adorable. “Rescue groups”? Okay, you pull animals out of pounds where they’re about to be put down or other terrible conditions. But if you “rescued” your dog by adopting a small, cute dog from an animal shelter, you didn’t rescue shit. You were the first person in line. “Bargain hunter”? Sure. “Rescuer”? Save it.)

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
294 pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a quick read, but not a light read. The device of switching each chapter between flashbacks with Sarah in 1942 and Julia in 2002 made everything feel fast paced and it was suspenseful.

I was completely gripped by the story and thought Julia made for a wonderful narrator and protagonist. Love the concept of delving into something you should have learned about in school and are a little embarrassed that you didn’t. Sarah’s eventual fate was a layer I wasn’t expecting and the ending left me wondering what would happen to these characters down the road without feeling like there were loose ends.

I only have a few gripes:

Bertrand was a bit too much of a one dimensional cad. His first introduction is something like, “He’s late, he’s always late, and he’s always making fun of me.” I thought it would have been more interesting if he wasn’t such a Bad Guy.

The lack of technology in some of the modern scenes seemed off to me. Why were they looking people up in the phone book? It was 2002, use the internet!

The not-revealing-of-names (at the beginning and the end) seemed clunky and not necessary. Why wait to reveal Sarah’s name? It’s in the title. It’s not like we all didn’t know…

This is the tiniest of details, but there are a lot of versions of the cover for this book, and none of them seem to me to be appropriate at all for the story. Why so many little girls running around frolicking or jumping rope? And why do they all look so young? She’s supposed to be 10 when this happens, not five. Grumble, grumble.

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