Aug 20, 2007

Chicken Soup for the Cat & Dog Lover's Soul

by Jack Canfield, et al

This book will be enjoyed by any animal lover, especially those who have cherished pets. If you've never read any of the "Chicken Soup" books, it's a good one to start with. I liked it better than the other ones I read so far. These volumes are collections of short stories on a theme, gathered people across the United States. All are uplifting, inspiring tales and they are each true (although "Jim the Wonder Dog" really stretched my credulity). What touches me most about them is to know they all came from someone's life experience. I like to think they are the kinds of stories that more primitive cultures would have passed around by word of mouth, sitting in a close circle, listened to time and time again. Those storytelling voices cannot reach far enough to touch everyone's ears nowadays. But through the book they can reach out and touch all our hearts.

You will find in these pages stories of courage, loyalty, friendship and loss. Many of them are funny, some are sad and a few are quite thought-provoking. They all demonstrate how much our animal companions mean to us: as members of the family, working companions and faithful friends. They bring us many laughs, teach us profound lessons about life, and work wonders of healing. As quoted in the book,
"in order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce.
Although (true to the title) most of the stories are about dogs and cats, the book also features several horses, some geese, two lovebirds and a garter snake, cockatiel, mallard, llama, pelican, African gray parrot, hamster, cow and toad. That was my favorite, the toad who was friends with a dog. This isn't great literature, but if you're looking for an easy read or a book to curl up with that will give you "warm fuzzies" it's a good pick.
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Yet, we still would live no other way."- Irving Townsend, p.320

Rating: 3/5                        Published 1999, 408 pgs


Literary Feline said...

Great review, Jeane! I began reading this book while ago, but ended up setting it aside because I ended up crying at the end of each story--happy or sad, it didn't matter. LOL I do plan to eventually finish it, but it's one I have to read in small doses.

One of the things I like about these books is exactly what you pointed out in your review--they are stories by real people, about real experiences. That makes them even more special.

Jeane said...

I'm glad you agree with me. I know a lot of people think these books are just silly or shallow. But sometimes I really enjoy them!