Staff Review: Following Atticus

I normally keep away from books about pets and their lives, because these books are mostly written after the beloved pet is dead and I know I’m gonna weep and weep and weep, not enjoying the read itself. Following Atticus by Tom Ryan however I couldn’t resist. First of all, it is an account of a miniature schnauzer (just like my ABC dog Tessi (see right)). Secondly, after seeing the book in a catalogue I checked out the internet and found Atticus M. Finch’s and Tom’s blog and was happily surprised Atticus was still alive.

I could actually read this book!

As soon the book was out and my dear colleague Sophie put one copy aside for me, I started immediately. And after the ‘long’ wait I wasn’t disappointed. Better yet, I got much more than I thought I would get.

It’s not “just” a story about a special little dog (aren’t they all?) and his master, but a story of self-discovery by taking the road less travelled, daring to say that the main road with all the people on it doesn’t have to be the best road for you, even if that means being “different” or “special”. Just like with Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s not about whether you win or lose a set goal, you don’t have to know where you are going or where you have to end up. It’s all about trying and the changes in yourself.

So, what am I talking about?

I’m talking about Tom Ryan, a controversial journalist in a small town in New Hampshire, reluctantly taking in Max, an elderly miniature schnauzer who hadn’t had much luck in his life up ’till then. Max opens up a new life for Tom, but after only a year and a half Max dies and Tom is by himself yet again. But something changed already in Tom and he decides to have another dog. In comes a puppy miniature schnauzer he calls Atticus M(ax) Finch. With the help from the breeder Tom and Atticus find a way in the world together, both enjoying their walks, the peace and quiet and the best company they can have: each other. Some of the mountains close to home they take on in the summer, but after a friend of Tom dies of cancer they decide on taking on the forty-eight highest peaks twice in winter time, and to raise money for a cancer fund.

Do they know what to expect? No.
Are they crazy? Some might say yes.
Are they courageous? I think so.
Will they make their goal? Not important.
Will they have the time of their lives? Most definitely!

And it is only the beginning…

Reviewed by Ester

PS How did the refrain of that song go again?:

When the river was deep I didn’t falter
When the mountain was high I still believed
When the valley was low it didn’t stop me, no no
I knew you were waiting
I knew you were waiting for me

(Aretha Franklin & George Michael: I knew you were waiting (for me))

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