McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

December 12, 2013

BOOKWORM: ‘Dogs’ a delightful story with perfect plot

McALESTER — This Christmas, you’re giving up a lot.

You’re giving up a corner of your home for a Christmas tree. You’re giving up money to make sure the best gifts are beneath that tree on Christmas morning. You’re giving up time to bake, decorate, send cards, maybe even volunteer.

You’re giving up a lot this Christmas, whether you realize it or not. But, as in the new book, “The Dogs of Christmas” by W. Bruce Cameron, you’re getting so much more in return.

Josh Michaels didn’t want to answer the phone.  

After Amanda left him for another man, there was barely any reason to even have a phone but he picked the receiver up anyhow, hoping it was her. When he found out who was on the line, he was immediately sorry he did.  

It was his scruffy neighbor, Ryan, who told Josh a hurried, convoluted story about France and his ex-girlfriend’s dog, Loose. Blah-blah-blah, and before Josh could protest, Ryan left the dog on Josh’s porch and, tires spinning, was gone.

Loose. As in Lucy.

As in, a female dog. A pregnant female dog.

Josh had never had a dog, didn’t know the first thing about caring for one, and didn’t want this tail-thumping German-Shepherd-something. He didn’t want puppies, either, but he felt bad when Lucy’s puppies died. Was it fate that somebody abandoned five tiny pups in his truck while he was at the vet’s?

Maybe, and it was a miracle that Lucy adopted them. Dogs were pretty awesome.

Still, Josh had lots of questions, so he called the local animal shelter and spoke with a girl named Kerri, who offered to come to his house. He wasn’t expecting her to be so pretty or funny. Josh could imagine himself asking her out — and when he finally did, he decided he liked her. Kerri could almost make him forget about Amanda.

Almost.

But what he couldn’t forget was that Lucy was somebody else’s dog. Kerri wouldn’t let him forget, either, that keeping six dogs was illegal and that he’d promised to adopt the puppies out — which was something Josh couldn’t bear.

He’d had enough loss in his life. Could he lose his little dog family, too?

It’s a good thing you weren’t sitting next to me while I was reading “The Dogs of Christmas.” I never cry at novels, but I cried at this one… though it’s really not a sad story.

Yes, this book has sad elements in it (ones that dog lovers will completely understand), but it also oozes humor and charm. Author W. Bruce Cameron introduces us to a wonderfully geeky main character, a sweet-but-socially-inept man to whom bad things perpetually happen. That makes for a delightful story, a perfect plot, and a book that’s hard not to love.

If you must have a holiday tale to put you in the Christmas mood, this is the one you must have. For whatever little free time you’ve got left this season, “The Dogs of Christmas” is worth giving it up for.

Book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books.

“The Dogs of Christmas”

By W. Bruce Cameron

c.2013, Forge                

$15.99

238 pages

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • 7-10-ducks.jpg PAWS: Happy Easter

    As I was growing up, it seemed that Easter was always a time for giving a cute little furry animal as a gift. We seem to associate this holiday with bunnies and chicks, and of course, kitties and puppies.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fairly Snotty McAlester livestock report

    On Tuesday, 1,200 head of cattle were sold at the McAlester Union Stockyards. Steers sold $2 to $9 higher than at the last sale and heifers sold $4 to $8 higher.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 18, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • David Cantrell OSU Extension: Cattle tips for spring

    As we continue to move into spring here in Pittsburg County and cattle prices are at an all-time high, here are a few basic management tips to ensure herd health and productivity of the herd.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICHARDSON 50 1.jpg Richardsons celebrate 50 years of marriage

    Haileyville High School graduates Jim and Connie Richardson, of rural Claremore, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • MHS Student Painters MHS Student Paintings

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pet of the Week Pet of the Week

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Book Sale Book Sale

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miss Teen McAlester Miss Teen McAlester

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.