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Rex and the City: True Tales of a Rescue Dog Who Rescued a Relationship [Kindle Edition]

Lee Harrington
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
 
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Book Description

“Hands-down the best human-with-dog memoir you will ever read!” ~ Bark magazine

In this humorous, moving, keen, fun and startlingly original memoir, critically-acclaimed author Lee Harrington shares her story of love, loss, dysfunctional relationships, and the shelter dog who put things right. In 1997, Lee and her then-boyfriend Ed were on the verge of breaking up. Money was tight, their careers were floundering (Lee was an aspiring novelist: Ed was an aspiring documentary filmmaker) and their personalities, frankly, did not mix. Plus, they lived in a crumbling, cramped tenement apartment on the Lower East Side—for which they paid more than they earned. Then, on a fateful day in August , they decided on impulse to visit a nearby animal shelter, just to “look at” dogs. In a split-second decision that would change their lives, they brought home a troubled spaniel mix named Wallace. They quickly realized that this dog was more than they could handle—he was aggressive, fearful of humans, untrained and seemingly untrainable. For the first few months of their new lives with this aggressive animal, Lee and Ted struggled with the question—the reality—of whether they could realistically rehabilitate this dog (they even considered bringing him back to the shelter). They also struggled with the question of whether they could make it as a couple. Faced with a new responsibly, they bickered constantly, worried incessantly, cried daily (mostly Lee) and disagreed on nearly every aspect of how to handle the dog. Their disagreements ranged from how to train the dog to where he should sleep to what to feed him. But the one thing they could agree on was that they loved their dog. And slowly but surely, that love helped transform both the dog and the relationship. Both Lee and Ed, through the dog, learned how to love in new and fearless ways. And thus, by rescuing a needy spaniel, they ended up rescuing themselves.

Written with keen insight, sparkling humor, piercing honesty and masterful prose, Harrington’s memoir leaves the reader with the sense that, while adopting an abused dog can often be a challenge at first, the rewards are limitless. This is an exhilarating book—readers will laugh out loud, smile in recognition, nod in empathy, and/or pause in reflection as Harrington shares both her pains and her joys of her life with a troubled dog. Mostly, readers will be reminded—in a delightful way—that love does indeed conquer all. Especially dog love.

REVIEWS:
“Harrington has crafted a sweet and exquisite story that should appeal to urban dog lovers and New Yorkers.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Rex and the City is a very sharp, poignant (and funny) human-dog love story, but it is also more than that, a very revealing piece of social commentary shedding light on the impact dogs can have on families, friends and relationships. A lot of fun!” ~Jon Katz (author of A Dog Year)

“I've been a fan on Lee's writing for a long time and Rex and the City is a shining example of why. Written with warmth, hilarity, honesty, and most importantly, hope, Rex captures --wonderfully-- what it is that we love so much about dogs and the countless things they give to us. Read this book! ~Alison Pace (author of Pug Hill.)

Harrington's wry, self-depreciating intelligence is completely winning as she readily admits her insecurities and captures their struggles to form a family in a sophisticated yet isolating city. Not one dog lover on earth will turn down a metaphoric walk with this loveable pair and their kooky canine.” (Book Page)

*Rex and the City was originally published by Random House/Villard in 2006 under the title Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog. In 2011. This eBook edition contains additional material.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this memoir, based on a column Harrington wrote for The Bark magazine, the author narrates a canine-loving tale of life in New York City during the heady late 1990s. Crammed into a tiny studio on the Lower East Side, she and her boyfriend, Ted, like many city couples, live together as much to save on rent as to audition their compatibility. Into this makeshift space they bring Rex, a needy shelter dog, angry and skittish from prior abuse. Rex quickly becomes the center of their relationship and their lives. Agreed on their love for the dog, Harrington and Ted argue about training methods and breed—he says strict and setter, she soft and spaniel—and through pooch parenting they grow closer. Harrington and Ted make friends at the dog run and soothe Rex by staying home nightly with take-out. Harrington has crafted a sweet story—with cute asides detailing Rex's Halloween costume contest, his first time squirrel hunting off-leash and zany neighborhood dog people and their advice—that should appeal to urban dog lovers and New Yorkers. (On sale Apr. 4)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Hands-down the best human-with-dog memoir you'll ever read!" (Bark magazine)

"Harrington has crafted a sweet and exquisite story--with humorous asides detailing Rex's Halloween costume contest, his first time squirrel hunting off-leash and zany neighborhood dog people and their advice--that should appeal to urban dog lovers and New Yorkers." (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)

Harrington's wry, self-depreciating intelligence is completely winning as she readily admits her insecurities and captures their struggles to form a family in a sophisticated yet isolating city. Not one dog lover on earth will turn down a metaphoric walk with this loveable pair and their kooky canine."(Book Page) 
"Rex and the City is a very sharp and poignant (and funny) human-dog love story, but it is also more than that, a very revealing piece of social commentary shedding light on the impact dogs can have on families, friends and relationships. A lot of fun!" ~Jon Katz (author of A Dog Year)

"Written with warmth, hilarity, honesty, and most importantly, hope, Rex captures --wonderfully-- what it is we love so much about dogs.~Alison Pace (author of Pug Hill.)
"For the love of dog, please read this joyful, thoughtful, honest, and clever book. Lee Harrington shows us that learning how to live with a canine is the surest way of learning how to live."~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Women and Other Animals
                                                                                                   
"Well-written, smart and observant...With comparisons to Twain, Thurber, and Bombeck, Rex and the City is "the perfect summer read." (Woodstock Times)

Product Details

  • File Size: 684 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Kalos Kagathos Ltd.; Second Edition edition (December 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006O4SRY2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,176 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars from magazine to book- still charming August 17, 2007
By Seaweed
Format:Paperback
I had read excerpts of this in Bark magazine (yes I'm one of those dog nerds) and was charmed then, and after reading the entire book, remain so. The things I think I like best are, 1) its a really accurate depiction of the trials and tribulations of getting a shelter dog and that transition, 2)as well as how complicated dog ownership can be in an urban area. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not heavy or serious, but it struck a chord in me- someone who has experienced both of those situations. It's not all sunshine and roses the first day, and no one warns you about that. But that is also where some good comedy comes from. I enjoyed this book very much and would definitely recommend it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gret Book! November 26, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is great. I read it in just a couple of days, I could barely put it down. I carried it with me everywhere I went and would sneak in a few pages every chance I got.
If you love dogs, New York City or just want a few good laughs, this book is for you. The love and humor that Rex brings into Lee and Ted's lives is heartwarming. As an owner of two rescue dogs living in a major city, I can relate to a lot of their experiences.
Rex reall showed Lee and Ted how to give and receive love.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for a fun, heart warming read? THIS IS IT!!! November 21, 2007
Format:Paperback
I cannot recommend this book enough! From the first page, I was immediately involved with these great characters. The book is non-stop laughs and sprinkled with endearing, heart-warming moments. I truly couldn't put it down! I was eager to see what would come to Rex and his "parents." It is simply wonderful!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars need an.editor April 15, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was at times a difficult read.
It was very repetitive with no apparent
timeline to speak of.
The editing was poor at best. Besides
spelling errors they missed the sentences
that dearly needed improvement. I figured that her
puppy was a rescued dog from the beginning,
and although the story needed to be repeated it at times
it did not needy to tell us as many times as it does
(I lost count).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wallace, the next Disney princess? April 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Who doesn't love a rags to riches story? And of course, if you've ever owned or loved a dog yourself, you fall in love when that story involves a dog. This is truly fairytale, one in which our hero, Wallace, was dealt a bad hand in life, and had to suffer through an evil owner that abused him in some shape or form, of which we are never quite certain. Just like Cinderella with her evil-step mother, Wallace is confined to his tower: or in dog terms, the shelter. Magically, a hero comes along, somehow sees the beauty within our ill-treated, but still beautiful main character, and saves him from a life of despair by showering love and affection upon him. And, like in the perfect fairytale, they fall in love and live happily ever after. (But of course, this is a slightly more realistic fairytale, in which there is an adjustment period, and the ups and downs of the relationship are revealed.)

On the down side, I found myself being a bit critical at times of the author and her relationships (with her dog, her boyfriend, her friends), having trouble relating to some of the more "crazy dog lady" parts of the story... but ultimately felt that stronger connection of one dog-lover with another.
There were sections I found myself "pushing through" to keep going with the story, trying to get past them. They tended to drag a little, becoming repetitious and redundant. I also found myself getting caught up in the large numbers of typing mistakes, which just made it more difficult to read. Seems like a little editing in some areas would make this much easier on the reader.

But the story itself is a beautiful feel good story. I consider it to be worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was a good, heartwarming read for dog lover's. Makes you think about rescuing your best friend instead of buying one, and of how you CAN reform 'bad' dogs with a lot of love & patience. BUT, the typos are EXTREMELY distracting. At 60% of the way through the book, I started highlighting, and it wasn't pretty. WHY do publishers thing it's okay to release e-books without proper editing? It's insulting to intelligent readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Your Dog, Yourself November 8, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is such a great book. Very well written. Very funny. Very poignant.

Ms. Harrington may, at times, seem overly self-centered in viewing every experience with the dog (Chance/Rex) as reflective of her own life and state of mind but any self-respecting dog owner knows that our pets are, in fact, mirrors of ourselves. That old saw about people looking like their dogs and vice versa is truer when considering behavior and attitude rather than personal appearance.

I like the fact that the first month of owning this dog rescued from a shelter caused both Ms. Harrington and her significant other, Ted, to say that they just couldn't take it, couldn't do it, couldn't get through to the dog. Most people are unwilling to be so honest and euphemisms such as "bad match" are offered instead.

However, these people had fallen so in love with Chance/Rex that they simply couldn't turn him back to the shelter. They had reasons for considering it too - his behavior was outrageous. I was amazed at the lengths these two went for the sole purpose of working with this dog. Of course, they did (especially Ms. Harrington) go overboard with personalizing/humanizing the poor thing. The baby talk alone would have driven even me - remember my member name here - crazy. I was very amused by how they had to change their whole circle of friends because they found the true line of discrimination: dog lovers v dog not lovers. When one is a dog lover, one's conversation is almost always at least peppered with that wonderful subject. Those who don't love dogs (they don't even have to hate dogs) quickly become very bored and contemptuous of those of us who are fascinated by the species.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I would have loved to have a rex!
Published 3 months ago by mandavis925
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Tells of struggles with a shelter dog. How the humans rescued him and had to learn his odd behaviors. How he integrated into the family Good story!
Published 3 months ago by Ritajorvt
2.0 out of 5 stars One of my least favorite books
I read this for a book club - found many things in it that were irritating. Did not enjoy the book. It is the book we use as a downsize measure for books we might read.
Published 5 months ago by sylvia walker
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, about a great subject and a wonderful ...
A great book, about a great subject and a wonderful setting. What can I say, once a NY'er, always a NY'er!
Published 5 months ago by Nell M
5.0 out of 5 stars We can only hope.
We all need that awesome deserved kind of love. This book made me smile and feel warm and toasty. It made me realize how much we love our dogs. A wonderful story!
Published 5 months ago by Sheena Mowery
4.0 out of 5 stars Endearing story of a rescue dog bonding with his owners
This was a great book. It was wonderful to see how dog and the people came to live together and love each other. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Debbie V
3.0 out of 5 stars pretty good book
Boring in places...some foul language unnecessary...not the best or worst....did describe love of a dog well and New York City.
Published 14 months ago by Karen M.
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Cute
This was a good book although I wish they had given some of their references at the end. I enjoyed their story a lot and could picture so much of it in my head! Read more
Published 15 months ago by Bea
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad
This was a kind of cute story about city people adopting a rescue dog. Unfortunately at times I felt it was kind of slow moving so it took me awhile to get through it.
Published 16 months ago by Andrea Fielder
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, heart-warming, sad and powerful
Although the original edition came out years before the current focus on dog culture,
this is one of the "standards" that everyone who loves dogs (and romances! Read more
Published 18 months ago by M. V. Meehan
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More About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

*Long considered the first and foremost author of the "dogoir" movement, LEE HARRINGTON has inspired, mentored, and edited some of the most prominent dog writers of our day. She serves as a literary editor, columnist, and book reviewer at Bark Magazine and has thrice been named the "Best Humor Writer" by the Dog Writers' Association of America. Her hugely popular and influential column "Rex and the City" has been appearing in Bark since 2000. She is known for her keen intelligence, sharp wit, unflinching honestly, and touching and profound insights. She is also famous for the elegance of her prose, and for her uncanny ability to tell a story and tell it well.

*A prolific author with a wide range of interests, Lee is currently working on several books: a literary novel, "The Expatriates' Guide to Heartbreak"; a second volume of Rex and the City; a young-adult fantasy fiction series; and a memoir about living at a Buddhist Retreat center with the working title "In Tents." She is also writing a screenplay loosely based on two short stories by Edith Wharton. She teaches creative writing at New York University.

*Lee is also a sound healer, kirtan walli, and lead singer in various rock bands. Also an aspiring songwriter, she is currently writing and recording her first album, which is based on characters, themes, lines, and deleted scenes from her forthcoming novel: "The Expatriates' Guide to Heartbreak."

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