GOLDEN DAYS by Arthur Vanderbilt


Memories of a Golden Retriever
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A love song to a departed golden retriever, keen and tender, from Vanderbilt (Fortune’s Children, 1989). Vanderbilt’s parents had a dog much beloved by the whole family. Amy was her name, and she possessed all the best characteristics of golden retrievers: She was personable, emotional, enthusiastic, mischievous, always with an eye for fun. Vanderbilt was grown and gone by the time Amy entered the household, but his many summer vacations at the family place on Cape Cod allowed him to enjoy the dog to the fullest. Amy’s exploits are the nub of this short remembrance: how she would make nightly rounds to check on her charges; nuzzle a rotting sand shark to partake of its evil perfume; herd the family back to shore when they went for a swim in the ocean; show a bit of her roots during a towel-tugging contest with a bristle and fierce growl; how she failed as a seadog (actually it was Vanderbilt who failed as a seaman) but knew how to throw a baleful look when she was not invited along on an outing, getting all morose and hurt. Vanderbilt twines her story with concisely rendered elements of Cape Cod history. One moment he will reconstruct in his mind’s eye a grand hotel in Chatham, Mass., and the next tell the story of Squanto, the Native American who saved the Pilgrims during that first cold winter of 1621. Or he will delve into the natural history of the horseshoe crab while offering it up for Amy’s inspection, then remember that it was off this particular beach in 1918 that a 213-foot submarine of the Imperial German Navy —broke the glassy surface of the sea— to fire upon a tugboat, the only enemy attack upon the US in WW I. Through it all romps Amy. Good dog, lovely book.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1998
ISBN: 0-553-11083-7
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998


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