This is a sweet ode to the joy of nurturing animals, though Abel admittedly has her work cut out for her in training Milo, an aggressive alpha dog who the family quickly realizes is a far cry from their previous pet. Abel and Milo's journey through training, asserting dominance, and learning to trust each other is an endearing story of overcoming grief, finding coping mechanisms in the most unlikely places, and the love between a dog and its owner. Abel refuses to give up on Milo, even after being warned of his volatility, writing that she was "determined to save him."
Animal lovers will relish the central role that Abel’s pets play in her wellbeing throughout the narrative, as she goes from adamantly avoiding dog ownership—due to a traumatic experience in childhood, when her father threw her puppy down a flight of stairs—to discovering not just camaraderie, but also healing in the human/animal bond. Abel writes transparently about the struggle to tame Milo, her troubling relationship with her parents, and the supportive nuclear family she establishes as an adult. This compassionately vulnerable memoir is, in Abel’s own words, a manifestation of her “determination to create an environment of unconditional love.”
Takeaway: Touching ode to the bond between humans and pets.
Comparable Titles: Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain, John Grogan's Marley & Me.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A