A moving and funny account of one man’s journey from bachelor to husband and father aided by remarkable pets. Novelist and Boston Globe columnist McGrory begins his tale by recounting his bond with his first dog, Harry. Obedient yet loving, Harry helps him through his divorce and enjoyment of newly single life, until a painful disease takes the dog just before his 10th birthday. A grieving McGrory goes about his life, “swallowed up by acres of emptiness like I had never imagined,” until Pam, his former vet, sends him an expensive necktie, and he falls in love again. Pam, recently divorced with two young daughters, introduces McGrory to suburbia and a rooster named Buddy. Originally a science fair project for one of the girls, Buddy quickly becomes the neighborhood attraction, strutting out on the front lawn. Despite McGrory’s hopes that Pam will find a more suitable home for the rooster, Buddy’s tenure becomes permanent with a strong fence around the yard and a home in the shed. In spite of (or perhaps because of) Buddy’s frequent attacks on McGrory, and a disastrous summer in Maine, McGrory comes to understand the obligations and sacrifices that come with family life.
C'mon, how can you resist that title? With the death of his cherished dog, Harry, McGrory lost his best friend but gained in the romance department: he fell for Harry's veterinarian, Pam. And he was ready to accept Pam's entire family—two daughters, two cats, two dogs, two rabbits, and one rooster—but the white-feathered, red-crowned Buddy was not about to accept him. Here's how McGrory overcame Buddy's resistance to sharing Pam. Since he's a Scripps Howard Award-winning journalist at the Boston Globe and a novelist to boot (e.g., Dead Line), expect good writing.
The story of a newspaper columnist who got a second shot at love and happiness in the suburbs—only a crazed rooster named Buddy stood in his way.... Readers who adore their pets will no doubt identify with the profundity of losing a cherished animal, but the unrelenting somberness juxtaposed with the occasionally silly moment make for an uneven narrative. An unexpectedly melancholy meditation on marriage, mortality and the merits of living in suburbia.
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