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Dog Walks Man: A Six-Legged Odyssey Paperback – October 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076277178X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762771783
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,675,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An experience shared by millions each day, dog walking establishes a bond between people and their pets, and, at its best, allows for a daily period of contemplation and quiet; at its worst, it's an exercise in tedious repetition. Zeaman, an award-winning art critic and children's book author (Before They Were Pets), presents a set of thoughtful, well-written essays about his experience walking Pete, a poodle who draws the family closer together, and helps Zeaman rediscover his childhood sense of wonder, better appreciate nature, and fully explore the wilderness outside his suburban New Jersey front yard. These essays are alternatively humorous and poignant; from analyzing the Meadowlands after a tropical storm ("Pete sloshes through every puddle. Tiny minnows dart and flicker in the shallow water. How'd they get in there? It's like seeing the origins of life.") to struggling to explain a marital separation, Zeaman's relationship with Pete will be instantly familiar to dog lovers everywhere. The author speaks from a place of great affection for dogs, nature, doggie dads (that "brotherhood of dupes"), and New Jersey.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Zeaman’s memoir tells the story of his years as the family dog walker. Theme-based chapters convey both his love of his dog and of walking in nature. After moving from Manhattan to New Jersey, the young family gets a dog, Pete, and Zeaman becomes his lifelong devoted companion. Together they explore the parks, woods, and other edges of nature to be found in densely populated New Jersey. While dog lovers will thoroughly enjoy Zeaman’s descriptions of dog walking, dog walkers, and the dogs themselves, nature lovers will find equal enjoyment in Zeaman’s quiet explorations of the natural world. Despite their forays into the Meadowlands, Zeaman (and, apparently, Pete) prefer their controlled, suburban-style excursions into the natural world over the true wild, but even a little green and a few trees inspire thought-provoking meditations and occasions to reflect on the works of his beloved Thoreau. --Jessica Moyer --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

John Zeaman is an author and freelance art critic. He has been reviewing the major New York City museum shows for 25 years and has won numerous national and regional awards for his work. His reviews currently appear in two New Jersey newspapers, The Record of Bergen County and the Star-Ledger of Newark. He also writes a column for Design NJ magazine. While on staff at The Record, he conceived and wrote a column called "World by Design," on the aesthetics of the everyday world. It was thrice honored by the Manhattan-based Society of Silurians, the nation's oldest press club. He and his wife, Janet Chatfield, live in Leonia, New Jersey with two slightly scruffy standard poodles. They have two grown children.

Customer Reviews

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See all 17 customer reviews
It's loads of fun and very entertaining.
bridget3420
There are moments of joy and sadness and redemption: all the aspects of a good dog story.
Deborah Weeks
I could tell that he genuinely learned something while he was writing this.
Judi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ckarels on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing book. I don't even have a dog and I found it fascinating. For one thing, it's not really a dog book. There's a dog at the center of the story, but unlike books like "Marley and Me," the dog is not really the point. This book is more in the mold of Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley," with man and dog setting out on an adventure together - except they never leave their suburban town. This is a book about discovering your place in the natural world, but making those discoveries on a daily basis in the place where you live.

Dogs, Zeaman finds, "connect us to the land." In his case, that land is a succession of places that become progressively wilder, from a small woods not far from his house, to a neglected riverside park with a broad meadow, and finally, to what he calls "the mother of all fringe places," the New Jersey Meadowlands. A no-man's land because it was formerly a dump, the Meadowlands that Zeaman and his standard poodle find is a place that, in the intervening 30 years, has become a small, but jungly wilderness teeming with wildlife. In one chapter, he rediscovers the childhood thrill of being lost. In another, he ponders the origins of paths as an ancient human-animal collaboration, "prehistory's greatest cross-species public works project."

The author is also an art critic and former landscape painter, so the world he sees is informed by paintings, and ideas about landscape. The book's playfulness is reflected in the charming maps drawn by the author's daughter, Claire Zeaman. There are also laugh-out-loud scenes, as when Zeaman's dog refuses to give up an enormous dildo that he found in the bushes. This book connects so many things and works on so many levels that it deserves to be a classic.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderfully written memoir, reads like a combination of astute commentary on a particular modern life and a window into art history with a dog as companion. Inspiring sometimes, with humor and personal moments aplenty, the book allows the reader to enter the author's world as he honestly shares fresh insights into his life:a unique perspective on the commonplace is revealed. An intelligent read to enjoy.
I would highly recommend this book to a friend and have, in fact, shared it with many. Dog walkers will have a particular affection for the stories to be found between the covers of Dog Walks Man, A Six legged Odyssey by John Zeaman.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bruce V. Locklin on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book two weeks ago and have been reading it slowly because it's so good, I don't want to finish (five pages left). John Zeaman brings an artist's eye to the world -- he was a painter before becoming an art critic. So he sees things while he walks his dog that I would never have noticed. And he captures them so well I feel like I've been there. Anyone who has ever loved a dog will love this book. I bought two copies to give to friends and will probably buy a few more. The author's honesty makes his stories ring true. He talks about family problems and local laws he's bent on his six-legged odyssey. If you read this book as a collection of essays, you can savor it even more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Weeks on October 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! John Zeaman shows us how walking his dog changed his outlook on nature, human relationships and his kinship with his pet. Originally a chore that fell to him when his family adopted a dog, it eventually became a new way to view the world at large. In his book he says, "If you want to know a place, get a dog and walk it." The place he eventually got to know was the New Jersey Meadowlands: a former garbage dump. I have only driven through there for many years, but I remember the fires and the smell from when I was growing up. He sees it in a whole new light and shows how it is changing again.

This book is a fairly quick read but has some depth to it. John Zeaman is a philosopher as well as a writer, artist and art critic. He finds beauty, art and nature in a place where once there was only ugliness and discovers how it has begun to recover from the years of abuse. There are moments of joy and sadness and redemption: all the aspects of a good dog story. It is a very enjoyable book and I recommend it highly.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rae Grinelle on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Got to admit that I'm a cat person, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Probably would appeal to pet owners of all ilk, as well as those poor souls who love dogs but can't own one
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Format: Hardcover
When I bought this novel, I was told that it would be an interesting reading about life. I was hoping that walking a dog would be just an excuse to bring me brilliant thoughts about our modern existence. But not. Most of the arguments are directly or indirectly related with dogs and, to be honest, it has been quite frustrating. I could even finish it...
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I just read this book and I'm almost sad that I've finished it. Without giving away too much, I note that there is much that I can relate to. There is the fact that I moved to New Jersey from a borough of New York (Brooklyn) and have developed a deep appreciation of nature, partly as a result of the walks that my wife and I have taken with our current and past dogs. This is a well written, fascinating, book that provides the author's astute observations during his dog walks and I recommend it highly.
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