26 August 2011

Following Atticus; Tom Ryan

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary FriendshipFollowing Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was not one I thought would be as good as it was: I'm not a dog person, and my enjoyment of books like The Cat Who Went to Paris and Marley and Me was minimal. Having been dragged on many hikes when I was younger, my preference is for curling up with a good book and reading. Despite those qualms, there were many moments reading this when I turned to my cats and just had to hug them.

Those of us with pets understand the unconditional love they give and Atticus' love for Tom goes above that: the two connected on some incredibly deep level. Tom's decision to hike the 4,000'+ White Mountain peaks (both during the summer and winter) with his dog seems to be something short of madness, but clearly this is one mountain-loving dog. It's also heart-warming to see how Atticus touched the lives of the people in Tom's life and what an integral part of Newberyport's community he became. For those that enjoy hiking, Tom's descriptions of the various peaks - and climbs - will whet your appetite for the next climbing season.

What dropped this from a 4 to a 3 (or 3.5, I'm vacillating) is that Tom falls into the same trap I've seen that most reporters-turned-book authors get snarled in: too much repetition of information. "Characters" are introduced and reintroduced, and in some cases whole paragraphs are repeated in more than one chapter. That might not bother some, but it irritated me.

This would be the perfect gift for any hiking or dog lover in your lives.

ARC provided by publisher.

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