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A Three Dog Life [Kindle Edition]

Abigail Thomas
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $8.38
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Book Description

When Abigail Thomas's husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. This wise, plainspoken, beautiful book enacts the truth Abigail discovered in the five years since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stephen King's front-cover endorsement of Thomas's memoir as the best he's ever read—and a "punch to the heart"—will surely pique interest in this wrenching, elegiac portrait of her third husband, Rich, who flounders in a miasmic present after a hit-and-run in their Manhattan neighborhood shatters his skull, destroys his short-term memory and consigns him to permanent brain trauma. A deft balance of fevered pathos and dark humor link this memoir, in spirit and theme, to Safekeeping, Thomas's collected vignettes that memorialize her second husband. But Thomas also finds wellsprings of inspiration in her tragicomic interactions with Rich and in the self-reliance she's forced to develop, aided by her faithful dogs (the book's title adapts an aboriginal phrase, derived from the tradition of cuddling with dogs on frigid nights). Rich—himself reminiscent of a Stephen King eccentric—utters eerily prescient, absurdly poetic non sequiturs, probing the essence of time and love with ingenuous intuition, though his acute paranoia and confusion make these exchanges truly heartbreaking. Thomas's quick-cutting chronology and confessional narration subtly re-enacts the soupiness of her husband's mind, even as she quietly thanks him for the wisdom of living in the present. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In these exquisitely written essays Thomas reflects on how her marriage had to be reinvented after the night her husband, Richard, took their dog, Harry, out for a walk, and Harry came home alone. Richard had been hit by a car and was lying bleeding in the street. The traumatic head injury he suffered didn't kill him, as attending police had predicted it would, but it rendered him susceptible to large-scale memory loss, hallucinations, and such wild rages that Thomas was forced to commit him to an institution. Lesser events have destroyed relationships, so it would not be surprising to learn that Thomas abandoned Richard. She didn't. Instead, she sold their New York apartment, moved upstate to be near him, and acquired two more dogs to keep her company. What's more, she can't imagine life without her husband, saying, "It would be like falling through space with a parachute but no planet to land on." Thomas has elevated what could be, at best, an overemotional sermon or, at worst, a grim romp in self-pity to a high plain of true inspiration. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
151 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rave Review for A Three Dog Life September 19, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
*****

This book is sweet, poignant, and beautiful. It is also gut-wrenchingly honest and realistic about the author's attempts to cope with her life after her husband has a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). He gets hit by a car while walking their dog and their lives are never the same. This memoir is about the author's life and marriage after the accident and for the next five years, until the present day. I loved reading it. I haven't really ever read a book like it.

The author builds herself a life, accompanied by what ends up being three dogs altogether. She still takes joy in her marriage, such as it is. I wish I could put into words how beautiful this book is, but I can't. It is a lovely book with mature topics (grieving, survivor guilt, etc.) for adults or especially mature teens. Highest recommendations.

*****
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief, lovely read September 28, 2006
Format:Hardcover
This memoir managed to be both incredibly sad and yet positive and life-affirming at the same time. Abigail Thomas describes the journey she must take in the years after her husband's accident and how she manages to progress from inner turmoil (and at times, the inability to function at all), to a place where she is at peace with her life. Though her husband must remain at a hospital for brain-injured patients, she is able to bring him home for visits and spends time with him at the center. The comments and thoughts from his head are so fascinating...I found myself eagerly waiting to see what he would say the next time. Just wondering about the brain and all that we don't know about it is truly amazing to me. Sometimes he makes pronouncements that appear so profound, and other times he seems in total confusion, and while it's incredibly heartbreaking, it's also mesmerizing to read their conversations together.

As for Thomas' relationship with her three dogs, she describes it beautifully. I would think any dog owner, as I am, can relate to the description of bed-crowding and jostling for the most attention, but mainly to the bond that forms between human and animal.
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88 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's 2am and I'm reading "A Three Dog Life" again..... September 19, 2006
Format:Hardcover
......enjoying it so much that when I finished, I felt that my best old friend had left me. Afraid to let go, I had to start reading it again, so we could re-unite. I found new gems with every re-read, and appreciated the writing, warmth and feeling even more than the first time in a way that love/like is not supposed to work.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A voice to be heard September 27, 2006
Format:Hardcover
I discovered A Three Dog Life through an article in the New York Times this summer. An excerpt from Abigail Thomas's book appeared in the column, Modern Love. She titled it: "My Husband Survived, the Man I Married Didn't." That is the crux of her book. And with this title, she got me. I, too, have a husband who survived a traumatic brain injury (stroke), and the man I married did not fully survive either.

Thomas's writing is poetic, courageous, and raw. Her story is the pain and joy of the human condition distilled in a small volume. Thomas weaves a new cloth of love from what was and what is now, looking for the meaning of life in the simple and the mundane, and appreciating both with keen insight. Abigail Thomas, the woman, discovers hard and wonderful truths about herself, and is wise enough to learn from her husband the infinite value of just one moment of life, lived in the present. As a writer, she shares generously with us the wisdom she has aquired, but did not ask for.

Although this book looks at tragedy head-on, it is filled with beauty and humor. I laughed out loud, as well as cried while reading it. And when I finished it, I immediately started it over again.

A Three Dog Life is a gift of a read, but to one who loves someone with a traumatic brain injury, it is a measure of sanity in a life forever changed. She "gets it" and writes honestly and poignantly about this journey, a rare combination.
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173 of 199 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Animal Lovers Beware March 26, 2013
Format:Paperback
I was well on the way to considering A Three Dog Life a favorite, getting ready to recommend it to friends. The writing was lyrical and touching. My interest began to wane when it became clear the story was mostly about the author's random train of thought than her experience with her husband and dogs. I got irritated with her irresponsible attitude toward her unspayed female dog in heat. But I kept reading. I was absolutely stunned when she casually threw in a story of a kitten being killed in an unspeakably cruel, monstrous manner resulting in a death of agony and terror. She expressed no emotion. It seemed to have no significance to the author. I reread this passage and found no necessity for its inclusion, as her casual mention of it seemed to have no bearing on the subject. It was followed closely by another offhand description of horrific animal suffering. I was so stunned I threw the book into the garbage, something I have never, ever done in my life. No wonder Stephen King likes this book. Now, before you get on my case about death and suffering being part of life, I do realize that these things occur. I have worked in the veterinary industry for 25 years, my husband hunts and I am familiar with raising animals for food. It was just the completely lighthearted way she related the incidences, and the way they had no bearing on the subject,just random information leading nowhere except shock for the reader. The first part of the book is engrossing and beautifully written, but it deteriorates into boring stream of conciousness. A description of this type of cruelty delivered with such nonchalance will stay with me a very long time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Loneliness
Found this a very depressing and a plodding
disjointed story..read to the end to find out the outcome but it never really gave one. It was a love story without end. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mary Rea
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Three Dpg Life"
For those who have had similar situations this would be a good book to read.
Published 1 day ago by bboo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 2 days ago by stephany carr
2.0 out of 5 stars A Three Dog Life
Was rather rambling like thoughts jotted down on slips of paper. Confusing at times to follow where the author was going and what period of time in the characters life she was... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Kathy Kranz
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, honest, gripping and somehow comforting
The long and sometimes lonely journey of the wife of a man who sustained critical brain trauma is not the sort of book I would normally choose to read but I'm glad I stopped awhile... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars The title and description blurb made me think that this was about a...
This books was a little confusing for me. The title and description blurb made me think that this was about a woman coping with her husband's injury by adopting some dogs who were... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Lauren B
3.0 out of 5 stars Some individual paragraphs and some individual pages unfold beautiful...
Author shares some insights she has gained about life, about values, about resilience. Some individual paragraphs and some individual pages unfold beautiful descriptions, literate... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Kaarin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great portrayal of how to live the life you didn't plan on.
Published 5 days ago by mandavis925
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
this was a very moving book.
Published 6 days ago by ELINOR C. GALLAGHER
3.0 out of 5 stars It was well written but a bit too sad for me
It was well written but a bit too sad for me. That doesn't mean others won't like it better.
Published 7 days ago by Chara
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