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The $60,000 Dog: My Life with Animals by [Slater, Lauren]
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The $60,000 Dog: My Life with Animals Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Length: 265 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In a thoughtful examination of a sometimes difficult life, ameliorated and often alleviated by connections with nature and animals, psychologist Slater (Welcome to My Country, 1997; Opening Skinner’s Box, 2005) shares that she was raised in a troubled suburban home, her mother gradually deteriorating with mental illness. When she received a bicycle for her birthday, young Lauren began to explore the area and discovered the edge of town and then the country. A country lane, with its animal inhabitants, became her refuge from the strangeness at home. Horses and riding helped her to survive until she was sent to a foster home at 15, when a young raccoon became her next lifeline. A stint as a veterinary technician provided a brief hiatus in what she felt was a year of drudgery when a young swan, victim of an attack by a snapping turtle, was fitted with a prosthetic beak. Years later, Slater still finds the swan to be her muse. Dogs, wasps, and bats also figure in a poetic narrative that gives the reader a melodic look into a deeply considered life. --Nancy Bent

Review

Praise for The $60,000 Dog

"Slater continually surprises wtih connections she makes. Beautifully written, and not just for animal lovers." —Kirkus Reviews

"A thoughtful examination of a sometimes difficult life, ameliorated and often alleviated by connections with nature and animals. . . .Dogs, wasps, and bats also figure in a poetic narrative that gives the reader a melodic look into a deeply considered life."—Booklist

“Assumption-busting, gut--wrenching, life-affirming.”—Pam Houston, MORE magazine

"Edgy, revelatory, disturbing, and beautifully written, Lauren Slater’s The $60,000 Dog is too unsentimental and idiosyncratic in structure to be lumped in with more traditional animal books."—Boston Globe

“A thoughtful memoir unravels the depth of our animal attachments.”—Elle 

"It's the fearlessness along with the beauty that makes The $60,000 Dog a work of lasting achievement."—Minneapolis Star Tribune 


Praise for Lauren Slater


“The beauty of Lauren Slater’s prose is shocking. . . . Slater’s vision is, ultimately, one of unity and possibility.”— Claire Messud, Newsday
 
“A lovely writer, easily read, often poetic.”— Michael Winerip, The New York Times Book Review
 
“An enormously poetic and ebullient writer.”— Elle
 
Slater’s writing is confessional without being sentimental, honest without being overbearing.”— Joseph P. Kahn, The Boston Globe
 
 “Slater is more poet than narrator, more philosopher than psychologist, more artist than doctor. . . . Every page brims with beautifully rendered images of thoughts, feelings, emotional states.”—The San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

  • File Size: 3265 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (November 20, 2012)
  • Publication Date: November 20, 2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007WKEMZK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,196 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's beautifully written and quite a compelling read. My main problem is that I don't believe the author. She admits in a previous "memoir" that she's a compulsive liar. I thought I found hints of that in this book as well. In the former, she tells us that she had/has epilepsy and Munchausen syndrome and underwent an operation where the two halves of her brain were separated. Not a hint of any of that in this one which covers much of the same time period. While the story feels psychologically authentic, I'm just not buying it as literal truth. (Two deadly fires?) Some chapters are only tangentially about animals. I suggest readers read this as fiction.

P.S. I came back and gave the book an extra star. The chapter on Ivory, the swan, alone is worth the price of the book. The writing is breathtaking. But please, Ms. Slater, if you're writing fiction, label it as fiction. If the book isn't fiction, explain the lack of congruence with the earlier memoir.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Slater has a dramatic, deep, troubled and honest way of looking and remembering. Sometimes disturbing but always ridiculously readable. I gave this book to my animal adoring wife who is not a big reader and she is tearing thru it. Giving us a lot to discuss.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As one who has not previously read anything by this author, I found the book exceptionally well written, each part engaging in and of itself, and fascinating. In fact, I found the book elegant in its prose and a winding road easily identified with in parts related to the relationships with the animals in her life. Only two things disturbed me. First, among the graceful storytelling, I was turned off (and don't want to use stronger language in a review, though my feelings were strong) about the calculations related to excrement. Completely unnecessary and a rip in a beautiful fabric. Second, with a deft touch, Ms. Slater inserts significant research that embraces and supports the ideals and issues discussed with great facility, and portrays herself as in communion with her animals. Yet, at one point, makes the bizarre statement to the effect that dogs' true behavior toward their human caretakers is based upon their want of food. My own experiences with my dog, now deceased, completely discount such an assertion. For so delicate a written portrayal of universal empathy toward animals and particularly our dogs, the aforementioned conclusion shocked the sensibilities carefully woven throughout the thesis of the book.
The book is excellent, and the questions I raise would not cause me to rate the book anything other than 5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
From the title, I expected a light and fluffy book on dog ownership. Instead, I found a deeply moving story of the author's painful childhood and adolescence. I am surprised that this book is not getting more critical acclaim.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this, but I have to caution people from being misled by the title. As intriguing as the title "The $60,000 Dog" sounds, Slater's writing is far from centered around dogs, or any sort of in-depth analysis of the cost of "pets" on our society. That kind of article would be better suited for an interest magazine piece or research paper assignment at your local university. And the subtitle "My Life with Animals," although broad, does not truly convey what the reader is picking up when they delve into Slater's pages.

Slater's work is a new kind of autobiography. The kind that manages to convey events both through a child's eyes and with adult meaning and sensitivity. If I had to describe the book in one word it would be just that: sensitive. Although others may find it neurotic, I believe that opinion would come from a reader who has not experienced depression that can take you down the rabbit hole of your own mind and leave you shaking in the darkness. Slater's writing is so nuanced you can taste smoke on your tongue and see the living AND dying cells within the network of your own skin, and yet she still manages to appreciate what she still does not know, and quite possibly, what she will never know. I applaud Slater for opening herself up in such a truthful way; admitting to her fears, questions, and acknowledging her pain.

So where are the animals? - you might be wondering. Animals are tools, teachers, and conduits through Slater's life, but I would not consider them the main focus of the book. At the center of everything is Slater (as we each are the principal of our own story). And her prose is filled with "quotable quotes" that question humanity's purpose and very existence.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Writing style inconsistent, and the whole thing was not what I expected. It was not really a book about this author's life with animals, rather a book about her life, with animals on the fringes of her experience.
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Format: Hardcover
Spoiler alerts...
I downloaded this book and got to 34% of the way through and still no mention of the dog that I thought was the reason for her writing this book. She did tell me how her mother killed the family dog with Nyquil. She didn't seem sad about that event. Just a quick mention that they buried the dog two days later. She then told how she went to a summer camp where the owner whipped the horses so hard, they were bleeding. Again, she didn't write this with a sense of outrage. I felt like she was discussing a grocery list. If she mentioned an internal anguish, shedding tears, sleepless nights, a deep resolve never to act in such a manner, etc. I would have a much different view.

For these reasons, I quit reading at that point. Someone else said the author claimed to be a compulsive liar. I sure hope so.
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