Woman's Best Friend book coveredited by Megan McMorris
Seal Press, March 28, 2006

This is a book of short pieces from a variety of female writers (mostly journalists), all about dogs. I've been slowly reading it for several weeks now, and just finished it the other night.

A few of the women featured in the book are ones I've read before, most notably Pam Houston and (the late) Caroline Knapp, both of whom have other work I much admire. The dogs featured are a motley bunch, from Pam Houston's herd of Irish Wolfhounds (how I envy that!) to a couple of dauschunds. They are personal pets, dogs of friends and family, or neighborhood menances. Some of them are already gone, but most are still alive. And the essays in the book explore several angles of the human-dog relationship. Or, I guess, more specifically, the woman-dog relationship. There are good dogs and bad dogs, and relationships that are more and less fulfilling. Which is exactly why I liked the book as a whole--it portrays the relationships between women and their dogs as something more than a simple idea of unconditional love or, worse yet, surrogate children. It portrays these relationships as complex, organic entities. Which is what, in my experience, they are. As books about dogs go, I'd rank this one up there with Knapp's full length work, Pack of Two. And that's saying something.


This book sounds interesting, but is it going to make me cry? I am so over-sensitive to anything about dogs, that often I can't read some of the articles in Bark Magazine because they upset me too much...

A few of the stories are very sad, but most of them aren't. It's worth the sadness.

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