A memoir focuses on a woman’s almost eight-year relationship with a small dachshund.
Lir (Moments of Introverted Outbursts, 2017, etc.) recalls early on in the narrative that she was 10 years old when she finally convinced her mother to let her have a dog. Within a few months, a neighbor’s pooch had a small litter. The author picked out a furry female puppy and named her Cindy. They were together for three years until a move to a complex that wouldn’t allow Cindy led to Lir’s giving her up. The author worried about her for almost two decades, until she reached her 30s. But she promised herself to one day “pick up where Cindy” and she “left off.” She would look for a small rescue dog that she could keep for the rest of its life. Several years later, Darwin, a purebred dachshund with behavioral issues, appeared in a TV-news adoption event. He had already experienced two failed adoptions. “He doesn’t need a dachshund person,” the man who ran the event later explained to Lir. “He needs the right person. He needs a protector.” It turned out to be a perfect match. The spunky little brown pooch adored her, and the author worked assiduously to let him know he was safe, understood, and loved. Like many pet parents, she was highly tuned to Darwin’s body language and vocalizations, which she amusingly translates into human-speak. After a battle of wills, Darwin would sit up, his long back vertical and ramrod straight, his eyes staring intensely: “Hmmm? Yeah? We good again?” Lir’s reflections include dozens of anecdotes about the pair’s mistakes, negotiations, and triumphs, but even more prevalent are the author’s frequent mental meanderings as she labored to decode Darwin’s inner world. Lengthy, almost full-page paragraphs are engaging but would benefit from judicious editing. And the pleasant conversational tone of the prose is occasionally marred by grammatical errors (“This will be a pattern him and I follow”). An inevitably sad final chapter (tissues advised) notwithstanding, this touching story is an enjoyable and loving tribute to a devoted best friend.
A wordy but charming and solid tale of human-canine bonding.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)