I used to read for pleasure a lot: science fiction, drama, mystery, fantasy, and whatever looked good. When I was working full-time and in law school, all my reading was academic and I missed reading for fun. I compromised by listening to audiobooks whenever I was commuting or driving alone in my car. What a relief! I was less likely to get drowsy while driving and my need for some fiction was met. Law school and the bar exam are far behind me, but I still listen to audiobooks in the car. I’d like to introduce you to a recent read that was remarkable.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski was so well written that my usual fiction fare paled in comparison. This book was right up my alley, focusing on the human-dog bond. The human element was pretty disheartening in places and uplifting in others, just like real life. And of course, there is an intuitive angle as well. The dogs carry the story in a way that you may not fully identify until the end of the book. The story revolves around a family that breeds, trains, and sells dogs. The characters felt so real that I found myself thinking about them while washing dishes, in a meeting, or doing laundry. They often wonder if dogs were to evolve as a species, what would change would that be? How do they breed for an improved species? What appealed to me most was the natural way the boy and his dogs understood each other; was it wonderful training or intuitive communication? Both? In any case, I had to wonder what a more evolved dog would be like.
This book suggests an answer subtly, in the context of the larger story. It made me think about how I parent my own dogs. Do I want an obedient dog or do I honor them as beings with their own reasonable wants and desires? Do I treat them like a toddler who needs to be guided to the right answer, or do I expect them to be slavishly obedient? Which do I respect most?
This book is published in paperback and digital, but the audiobook narrator was good, and I can recommend that format as well. Is anyone else as devoted to audiobooks as I am? Any recommendations?