New York Times managing editor Abramson (co-author: Obama: The Historic Journey, 2009, etc.) chronicles her experience raising a boisterous new puppy.
Culled from the author’s Times blog series, the book charts her journey from apprehension about a new pup to delight in her newest family member. In the wake of losing a much-beloved pet and on the heels of a difficult injury that left her unsteady on her feet, Abramson and her husband finally decided to welcome a new puppy, Scout, and her nearly boundless energy into their lives. Scout’s gradual and difficult transition from country life to the bustling streets of Tribeca brought new challenges for all concerned: puppy day care, advanced leash instruction and making friends (both human and canine) at the neighborhood dog park. Yet despite Abramson’s delight in Scout, the narrative suffers from an identity crisis. If the book is a memoir, it lacks depth of insight and analysis about the dog-human relationship. If it is a training manual, the author provides woefully few details about specific skills that can strengthen both a dog’s mind and the relationship between animal and human. It may be best categorized as a lifestyle book, as it provides a glimpse into a small window of modern dog ownership: wealthy, American baby boomers. Indeed, writes the author, “there is no Official Puppy Handbook for fifty-somethings,” but this flourishing community of new owners have unique concerns about raising and caring for their dogs.
Scout appears to be a lovable dog, but much of the fun of new dog ownership is overshadowed by the author’s persistent cadence of anxieties about puppyhood.