If you want a book that is funny, heart-warming, with moment of poignant reflection, this is the book for you! I would also say it will make a great Christmas gift for anyone in your family who enjoys stories about children, parents, and feeling like a fish-out-of-water. Joni Cole has been featured on Poet Hound before with her funny and helpful book Toxic Feedback, and is back with her equally funny book Another Bad Dog Book Tales of Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior. Not only that, but she suggested giving a copy away! The rules are simple, just leave a comment or send me an e-mail that you would like to be entered into the contest and names will be drawn at random out of a hat and the winner announced on December 4th, Sunday, 2011.
There are a number of reasons I enjoy this collection: She talks about the trials and tribulations of being a writer, of being an outsider to Vermont and trying to fit in, of visiting her father in a nursing home, of jealousy when her daughters favor hanging out with a friend of hers instead of their own mother. There is a story in here for everyone, from reminiscing about that first crush in the teenage years and the disappointment of discovering who they are as adults to missing a friend who has passed away.
One of the many stories I loved was one in which she visits a friend of hers and complains about trying to fit in to the “Vermont” way of life. I have moved many times in my life and I completely understand her point of view. Even though her friend has also moved into Vermont from somewhere else, the friend displays all the characteristics of typical Vermonters such as growing and producing one’s own food from vegetables to chickens, making your own herbal tea, and skiing. The way Mrs. Cole describes the whole scenario is hilarious as she jealously watches her friend brewing a cup of home-made herbal tea and setting out fresh hand-picked strawberries. As a woman, it is endearing and hilarious to find someone like her who thinks those same jealous thoughts I have when trying to fit in somewhere new.
Another story I enjoyed was one about her mother who is described as saying “Bullshit” and being fiercely determined to keep a clean house. Joni’s mother would vacuum every morning before going to her first-grade class to teach and prompt her children about housekeeping rules such as making them finish sentences like “Shoes off…” with Joni finishing “in the house,” and dutifully remove her shoes. While my mother was not so extreme I have met many like her and to see it from the perspective of a kid who lived it is enlightening and entertaining all at once.
All of Mrs. Cole’s stories are entertaining, even when they have the potential to break your heart such as when she describes her father’s aging process and his former vigor. No matter what your background I truly believe you’ll enjoy the stories in this book which reads like a well-thought out collection of short memoirs.
If you enjoyed this review, I urge you to purchase a copy of Another Bad Dog Book by Joni Cole for yourself and even as a gift for a friend by going to your local book-store or on-line at:
To WIN a copy of this book: Simply leave a comment in the comments section or send me an e-mail titled “I Want To Win.” The winner will be announced Sunday, December 4th, 2011. Please leave a contact e-mail address so I am able to send an e-mail and request a mailing address, thank you.
Good luck to all who enter the contest, please drop in again on December 4th, I’ll be taking a week off as I prepare for the holidays at my new job as an Activities Director of a long-term-care facility (you would call it a Nursing Home). I’ll be creating a monthly newsletter, helping my staff change out the calendars and decorating for the holidays so I’ll see you the following week and in the meantime I hope you’ll enter the contest and enjoy reading Ms. Cole’s review and secure a copy for yourself…