Cover image for Good boy : my life in seven dogs
Title:
Good boy : my life in seven dogs
ISBN:
9781250261878
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
249 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Contents:
Introduction: Too dark to read -- Indigo (2017) -- Playboy (1969) -- Sausage (1973) -- Matt the Mutt (1978) -- Brown (1984) -- Alex (1993) -- Lucy (1999) -- Ranger (2018).
Summary:
This is a book about dogs: the love we have for them, and the way that love helps us understand the people we have been. It's in the love of dogs, and my love for them, that I can best now take the measure of the child I once was, and the bottomless, unfathomable desires that once haunted me. There are times when it is hard for me to fully remember that love, which was once so fragile, and so fierce. Sometimes it seems to fade before me, like breath on a mirror. But I remember the dogs. In her New York Times opinion column, Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote about her relationship with her beloved dog Indigo, and her wise, funny, heartbreaking piece went viral. In Good Boy, Boylan explores what should be the simplest topic in the world, but never is: finding and giving love. Good Boy is a universal account of a remarkable story: showing how a young boy became a middle-aged woman-accompanied at seven crucial moments of growth and transformation by seven memorable dogs. 'Everything I know about love,' she writes, 'I learned from dogs.' Their love enables us pull off what seem like impossible feats: to find our way home when we are lost, to live our lives with humor and courage, and above all, to best become our true selves. --
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Summary

Summary

From bestselling author of She's Not There , New York Times opinion columnist, and human rights activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs , a memoir of the transformative power of loving dogs.

This is a book about dogs: the love we have for them, and the way that love helps us understand the people we have been.

It's in the love of dogs, and my love for them, that I can best now take the measure of the child I once was, and the bottomless, unfathomable desires that once haunted me.

There are times when it is hard for me to fully remember that love, which was once so fragile, and so fierce. Sometimes it seems to fade before me, like breath on a mirror.

But I remember the dogs.

In her New York Times opinion column, Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote about her relationship with her beloved dog Indigo, and her wise, funny, heartbreaking piece went viral. In Good Boy, Boylan explores what should be the simplest topic in the world, but never is: finding and giving love.

Good Boy is a universal account of a remarkable story: showing how a young boy became a middle-aged woman--accompanied at seven crucial moments of growth and transformation by seven memorable dogs. "Everything I know about love," she writes, "I learned from dogs." Their love enables us to pull off what seem like impossible feats: to find our way home when we are lost, to live our lives with humor and courage, and above all, to best become our true selves.


Author Notes

Professor JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN , author of more than a dozen books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. Her column appears on the op/ed page of the New York Times on alternate Wednesdays. She serves on the Board of Trustees of PEN America. From 2011 to 2018 she served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD and also provided counsel for the TV series Transparent and I Am Cait . Her 2003 memoir, She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders was the first bestselling work by a transgender American. A novelist, memoirist, and short story writer, she is also a nationally known advocate for human rights. She lives in New York City, and in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with her wife, Deedie. They have a son, Sean and a daughter, Zai.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Everything I know about love I learned from dogs," writes New York Times columnist Boylan in this eloquent memoir. Expanding on her 2003 account of life as a transgender woman, She's Not There, Boylan examines her transition through seven dogs who were there for her at pivotal points. The "magic of dogs," Boylan writes, is not that they love their owners unconditionally, but that their owners have an unconditional love for them, an ideal that can be harder to realize with fellow human beings. Each of the animals profiled here--including Penny, the aloof dalmatian and childhood pet Boylan outgrew; Matt, the obnoxious mutt whom a vet suggested they feminize via hormone injections; and Lucy, the "medium-sized yellow dog with a purple tongue" who never quite got over leaving her first home, a hog farm--allows Boylan to explore different areas of relationships with others, and with oneself. She touches on, among other subjects, self-doubt, confusion about her sexuality, emotional distance, and infidelity. Boylan also shares encouragement and guidance for those facing their own emotional struggles, noting that while hers weren't easy to overcome, self-acceptance awaited her at her journey's end. Filled with insight and remarkable candor, this is a sterling tribute to the love of dogs. Agent: Kris Dahl, ICM. (Apr.)


Kirkus Review

A memoir told through the lens of seven canine companions.Often, it's difficult to remember all the details of our lives and the people we once were. "But I remember the dogs," writes New York Times columnist and LGBTQ activist Boylan, who is on the PEN America board of trustees and serves as the inaugural Anna Quindlen writer in residence at Barnard College. In her latest, the author ties each of the seven chapters to a phase of her life and a dog she has loved. The narrative is somewhat chronological, but the dog stories and timelines also skip around a lot, which occasionally becomes disorienting. As in her previous books, Boylan's wry wit, wicked sense of humor, and unique way of turning phrases shine through, and her candor is powerfully therapeutic. Particularly stunning is the section in which she describes her initial reactions when a close family member also came out as trans. However, this book is not a Boylan primer. Readers who have not encountered She's Not There (2003), her memoir about her transition from male to female, may long for more detail in this book; the author sometimes skims over major life events she has written about elsewhere. But this is about the dogs, and the canine theme emerged from a Times opinion column, in which she wrote about her dog Indigo, that went viral in 2017. Boylan's stories about each dogfrom Playboy to Sausage to Matt the Mutt to Ranger (whose frequent interactions with porcupines "never ended well")range from sidesplitting to downright profound, and the author makes a convincing argument for the inherent need for all creatures to be who they truly are. Though the connections between the dogs and Boylan's life aren't always obvious, these tales will entertain, endear, andfair warningpossibly induce a sudden urge to drive to the local animal shelter.Intimate and insightful glimpses into Boylan's life and the dogs that have helped her learn more about love. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

New York Times columnist, novelist, and memoirist Boylan (She's Not There) believes that the magic of dogs is not that they love us unconditionally, but rather "what's unconditional is the love we have for them." Boylan maintains that dog owners are able fully to understand themselves through this love, which she deftly demonstrates in seven vignette-like chapters about her life. Each chapter is loosely based upon a dog she's owned and the pivotal moments that occurred during that time. Boylan's experiences are expressed with a captivating blend of deep reflection and wry humor, delving into her discomfort in her skin as a young boy, struggles in relationships, the death of her father, her transition to womanhood, and her child's own transition. The dogs are wonderfully portrayed with all of their quirks. Boylan makes astute observations about the way that dogs reflect back their owner's struggles, sometimes in unexpected ways. VERDICT Boylan's candor and distinctive writing style will appeal to readers of reflective memoirs. A solid choice for libraries looking to expand their LGBTQ biography collections. --Anitra Gates, Erie Cty. P.L., PA


Table of Contents

Introduction: Too Dark to Readp. 1
I Playboy, 1969p. 13
II Sausage, 1973p. 47
III Matt the Mutt, 1979p. 79
IV Brown, 1985p. 111
V Alex, 1993p. 143
VI Lucy, 1999p. 165
VII Ranger, 2018p. 205