A Dog Memoir

Book - 2017
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The author writes an account of her relationship with her pit bull Rosie. Starting from the emptiness following Rosie's death, the author launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet owner.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press/Grove Atlantic, 2017
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780802127099
Characteristics: 210 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


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Jan 31, 2018

Eileen Myles deserves her reputation as a startling frank and forthright poet, but I found her effort here to be too haphazard to rate more than two stars. While some parts of the book offer honest and heartfelt insight into the human and animal bond, one has to wade through far too much pretentious stream of consciousness crap to fully relax into the author's voice with any regularity.

Myles is most effective when she is writing directly about her beloved pit bull, Rosie, or when she is channeling her pup's voice from the after life. In those moments her writing voice rings true and clear, her insights appear effortlessly, and her honesty is so rewarding. At other moments, for example when Myles has her childhood sock puppet interview Rosie about her abuse by the author, I could respect that Myles was experimenting with narrative in a creative way, even if I did not get much from it. I also flipped my way through a number of wasted pages of conversation that were too confusing to pay much attention to. Who is speaking? What are they talking about? As a reader I felt excluded from whatever experience Myles was trying to offer here & fI wound up feeling quite annoyed by the coyness of it all.

I really reached my limit though with the core of the book, which was consumed by a rambling, over intellectualized spasm of free association that spoke about foam but came across like being hit on the head with a verbal bat. I admit to a certain petty annoyance with writers that I feel stray too far into forms of mental masturbation that seems to wish to punish the reader for not understanding the greatness of the author when the author is obviously making every effort to be unattainable--think Borges, Pound, Nietzsche, et al--but I don't know that Myles was really trying to be obtuse here. I suppose I could see this sagging middle passage as another experiment but there was a rigidness and a righteousness to it that I just resisted and thoroughly disliked.

I can imagine recommending this book to people who already appreciate Ms. Myles style, or to those who are willing to ride along with a writer as they explore different voices & different approaches. If you are coming to this book for a more straight forward and well told story about a girl and her dog though you might very well find yourself disappointed.


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Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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