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Anyone who has read Dean Koontz’s novels (my favorite is Watchers) knows that he can tell a gripping tale while being perceptive about dogs, an insight made more noteworthy by the fact that Koontz didn’t have a dog for the longest time. Finally in 1998 he and his wife Gerda corrected this omission by adopting Trixie, a Golden Retriever and trained assistance dog, who had been forced by elbow problems to retire in her third year of service. It was the happiest forced retirement imaginable--for Trixie, for the Koontzes, and for all of us who are now privileged to read Dean Koontz’s loving memoir of this remarkable being: A Big Little Life.
Like all great writers, Koontz has the ability to transform the ordinary--his daily life with Trixie--into the funny, the moving, and the sublime. Trixie’s accidentally gashing him while they play fetch turns into one of the great set pieces of medical comedy as Koontz ends up in the emergency room with a lacerated hand. On another occasion Trixie’s saying “baw” for “ball”—straining to say it, but saying it nonetheless--becomes a memorable recounting of all of our attempts to communicate with beings from another species. And Koontz’s simply watching Trixie move, her lithe golden body shimmering and flashing in the sun, takes on the quality of the divine as he expresses what so many of us have subconsciously thought about our own dogs: “The more I watched her, the more she seemed to be an embodiment of that greatest of all graces we now and then glimpse, from which we intuitively infer the hand of God.”
It is no exaggeration to say that Trixie was the hand of God for Koontz. He recounts his difficult childhood, his dysfunctional father, and the many challenges that he had to overcome on the road to becoming a world-famous novelist. But with that fame came commercial caution: telling stories in the same old familiar way and a consequent dulling of his creativity. Then came Trixie. With “baws” and balls, with warning him of fires and intruders in the house, with humor, with stoicism, and with unflinching love, she restored his diminished sense of wonder and impelled him toward taking new risks with narratives, themes, and characters, the very ones millions of us now enjoy.
“Some dog, huh?” he says.
“Some dog, yes,” we must agree, also concurring when he adds, “The only significant measure of your life is the positive effect you have on others.”
For all of us who have had our lives made better by our dogs, or for that matter by any loving being, A Big Little Life is a welcome reminder of the power of love to turn our hearts into mirrors, reflecting compassion back into the universe--as Trixie most surely did for Koontz and Koontz now does for us.
my husband is a very serious guy himself a writer of text book history so I didn't know if he would like this book and he does he just absolutely loves it and keeps telling me... Read morePublished 23 hours ago by garlic heart
Merle's Door is much better, more moving, and more educational as well.Published 2 days ago by Michael
This is an engaging story of how a dog came into Dean Koontz and his wife's life and changed everything for the better. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Ellie's Friend
This was a moving story about Dean and Gerda's first dog and the enormous impact she had on their lives. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Edward Jenkins
This is a wonderful book. I so enjoyed reading about the wonderful life Dean Koontz and his wife gave to this special dog. They were so lucky to have each other.:)Published 8 days ago by DannaJF
As usual, this book didn't disappoint! This is the most precious, sad, funny, and heartfelt memoir of the Koontzs' special girl, Trixie. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Belle
Such a wonderful, ensightful book......beautiful writing about a beautiful dog and her family. Loved it!Published 18 days ago by kellydog
I'm sure the author loved his dog, but as for a "story", it did not read as anything exciting. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Erie Liver