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The Wrong Dog Dream: A True Romance Hardcover – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161902120X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619021204
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,729,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Wrong Dog Dream

"And now I love this book, too. Like everything Vandenburgh writes, The Wrong Dog Dream is profound, brilliant, honest, painful, gorgeous, precise and wild, funny and real. She only writes about what matters most: love, family, art, and survival. You don't have to love dogs to enjoy this book, because it is about Life, which is to say, joy, loss, chaos, love, death-- and then those things all over again. It's about her marriage, children, and grandchildren, and their pets; her childhood in a deeply crazy environment, and its pets, her life as an acclaimed artist, her loneliness, salvation in marriage, and pets. This book is about devastation, hope and victory, and it is beautifully written." —Anne Lamott

About the Author

Jane Vandenburgh is the award-winning author of two novels, Failure to Zigzag and The Physics of Sunset, as well as Architecture of the Novel, A Writer’s Handbook and The Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century, A Memoir. She has taught writing and literature at U. C. Davis, the George Washington University, and, most recently, at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Callfornia. A native of Berkeley, she has returned to live with her family in the West, and with Wayne Thiebaud, her new dog.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
90%
4 star
0%
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10%
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See all 10 customer reviews
A book for lovers of dogs and life.
westreader
It's about the contradictory, always very human responses to the challenges and blessings of life.
Kay Eldredge
Where you can work without going crazy.
Alice L. Powers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Anne Lamott on March 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
And now I love this book, too. Like everything Vandenburgh writes, The Wrong Dog Dream is profound, brilliant, honest, painful, gorgeous, precise and wild, funny and real. She only writes about what matters most: love, family, art, and survival. You don't have to love dogs to enjoy this book, because it is about Life, which is to say, joy, loss, chaos, love, death-- and then those things all over again. It's about her marriage, children, and grandchildren, and their pets; her childhood in a deeply crazy environment, and its pets, her life as an acclaimed artist, her loneliness, salvation in marriage, and pets. This book is about devastation, hope and victory, and it is beautifully written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By westreader on May 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"It turned out to be a larger story..."

The beautiful cover portrait in Rembrandtian shades of black and brown is a dog. This looks like a dog book, and it is one. But it isn't the man's-best-friend kind or the rescued-mutt kind or the how-my-dog-trained-me kind. Two of the lives going on in it are those of dogs, but it's a record, moody and complex, of a writer's life, with an intense marriage at the center. "A true romance" says the title. This is the second memoir (following A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century) of a novelist who knows how to set a life before us and take it apart like a radio.

Resentments are aired with a startling openness that is downright refreshing. There are none of the disguised barbs and convoluted getting even that have crept into our memoirs. When something bad happens to a dog, blame is allotted. It is as if the two dogs of this romance are watching, approving with a dog's partisan justice her defense of them.

The book is hilarious and heartbreaking. She looks back at a childhood that could have scared and scarred a lesser person into silence. This is a tale of furies as well as lavish generosities. The past is never solved, but as Vandenburgh has found, one way out of it is to follow a dog into the eternal, joyous canine present. A book for lovers of dogs and life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mollym on May 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved this memoir/tribute to dogs, marriage, love, redemption, recovery, running and family. Jane Vandenburgh (h uber important) manages to weave together a narrative about pet ownership, divorce, moving and awful neighbors with such skill and humor I kept looking at my two surely cats and tearing up at the idea of losing them. Vandenburgh's writing is dense with memories, flashbacks and allusions yet it is never dense. The story moves across time and the United States and we readers willingly follow. I love both her dogs and I find most dogs less than memorable. Also, the author's ability to laugh at her own fears and phobias while still accepting their power was impressive. Her descriptions of her husband are so loving yet you feel invited in and welcomed to their partnership. Excellent book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Spiller on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Wrong Dog Dream is a book for all who have loved and lost a dog and lived to love another. That said, it is anything but a sentimental book. Jane Vandenburgh is a wildly original, big-hearted and darkly humorous writer who doesn't need to stoop to the sentimental when relating her life shared with dogs. It's not just the keen observations regarding her pure bred English springer spaniel Whistler (a "well thought out and intentional animal"), and the less intentional but equally adored porch hound Thiebaud, but her wise and honest survey of the human scene, from PLU--People Like Us, to deeper family concerns. Her endearing, brilliant take on blended family relations is offered in the chapter titled The One Cake Rule.
Vandenburgh's delightfully circuitous thinking can at times be like holding a leash attached to a rambunctious, curious creature taking it all in on a fast-paced walk as she tells of her life in Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area. Along the gracefully winding path she brings us to surprising truths, including her belief that a dog's pure, uncomplicated love is possibly the truest love a human can experience. And as with any good memoir, the author delivers us to powerful self-understandings which she could not have arrived at without the company of her beloved canines. As for the book's many entertaining asides, I found she and her husband Jack's brief residency in a high rise in the instant community of Emeryville to be so acutely whacky, she might want to consider it a setting for her next novel.
Readers of The Wrong Dog Dream will be thankful Ms. Vandenburgh has gone so willingly, and winningly, to the dogs.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alice L. Powers on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Jane Vandenburgh, both the writer and the person, for two decades. Yes, this is a book about her dog -- about two dogs really, one lost and one found. But on a larger level it is about friendship and home and love and dislocation and attachment. What makes a home? Vandenburgh leaves one coast that has always been home (for many things, both good and bad happened in California) to find herself completely disoriented in a new place, Washington, DC -- as foreign to her as Croatia. She finds a new home, or at least a weekend home, in Berkeley Springs West Virginia, only to find that, despite the symmetry of its name to her hometown of Berkeley, California, it, too, is a foreign, cruel place.

Ultimately, she comes back to California. This is not giving away the plot since-- as always with her novels and books-- the delight is in the journey. In this book she turns the concept of home over and over. She picks up her Magic Eight ball and finds a different answer each time. Home is where you're from. Where there are people live who love you. Where there are plu's (people like us). Where your children are. Where you can work without going crazy. Where you have friends. Where your dogs are safe, by your side.

Go on Vandenburgh's journey with Thiebaud and Whistler.
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The Wrong Dog Dream: A True Romance
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