A heartwarming tale of how owning a rascally dog can teach deep lessons.



A memoir about a woman, her dog, and her God.

Wisniewski (Nikki Jean, 2016, etc.) continues her series of faith-based remembrances that center on beloved dogs in her life. This tale recounts her adventures with a black Labrador retriever mix named Luke. She first saw the dog’s picture on a shelter website, right before Christmas 2005, when she was living with her grandmother and her beloved dog Nikki, and she felt an instant connection. She met the dog and brought him home with her—and she tried her best to navigate her grandmother’s initial resistance to the idea of adding a new canine to the household. That resistance was strong, at times, because Luke quickly proved to be difficult: “He did everything a dog should not do, was not good at listening, and certainly gave a different meaning to the words canine companion.” He was afraid of thunderstorms and firecrackers, but he was fearless and persistent when it came to slipping out of the house and running around the neighborhood or stealing food from tables, counters, and even the refrigerator. When the author embarked on an ambitious do-it-yourself program of home renovations, Luke was a constant source of disruption—chewing on glass, dry wall, oak trim, wood splinters, and part of a how-to book. These misadventures will be very familiar to any readers who’ve ever had an active dog or who have read classic canine-centered books, such as John Grogan’s 2005 memoir Marley & Me. Wisniewski’s tone throughout draws on an engaging mix of Christian spirituality and pet-owner optimism. For example, as she looks back on her time with Luke, she also reflects on the wisdom of their pairing: “God knows what we need, how to deliver what we need, and when to deliver what we need to us.” This belief comes to the fore when Luke helps the author through grief following Nikki’s death. Most dog lovers will find such moments to be relatable and cheering.

A heartwarming tale of how owning a rascally dog can teach deep lessons.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973606-55-0

Page Count: 172

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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