Following Atticus: How a little dog led one man on a journey of rediscovery to the top of the world by Tom Ryan
|Following Atticus: How a little dog led one man on a journey of rediscovery to the top of the world by Tom Ryan|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Not exclusively for dog-lovers, this is a sweet, moving story about friendship, which just happens in this case to be between a man and his dog, Atticus.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: October 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Tom Ryan is a middle-aged, stressed journalist, running his own newspaper, the Undertoad in Newburyport in America. His life is full of political intrigues and mayoral elections, boardroom deals and subterfuge and his life is full of challenges. He doesn't need a dog. He doesn't even particularly want a dog, but when a miniature schnauzer enters his life one day, everything changes.
Atticus isn't the first dog for Tom. The dog who changes everything is another miniature schnauzer called Max. He was with Tom only a relatively short time before he died, but he changed Tom's attitude sufficiently to mean that soon after he sought out another dog to come and share his life. When Atticus M. Finch arrives, Tom begins to make many changes to his life. He and his little dog begin to climb the mountains of New Hampshire. They seem an unlikely pair of mountaineers, this man and his tiny dog, but together they discover a true love of the mountains, experiencing a peace there that moves both of them. Through their physical journey Tom finds he is also making a personal voyage of discovery, finding out who he really is, who he is meant to be.
This book isn't quite what you expect. I'd hoped for a moving doggy memoir, perhaps along the lines of Marley and Me by John Grogan, but I found a lot more than that. Tom talks about his career as a journalist and the political intrigues of his town, and through his life with Atticus he also talks a lot about mountaineering and nature. At the same time he writes of his relationship with his father, his various friends who impact upon his life and, of course, the little doggy stories relating to Atticus. There are perhaps fewer humourous stories of life with a dog than you'd expect, but certainly plenty of moving moments and interesting characters.
I wasn't always quite sure I liked Mr Ryan, but I found myself entirely caught up in his story and wondering what he and Atticus would do next. It's an interesting portrayal of a personal life journey, and there were several times when I wished myself up on top of one of those mountains, looking out at the world alongside of a loyal little dog.
The only thing I really didn't like about this book were the ridiculously small photos! It's crying out for large, colour pictures so you can see Atticus sitting at the top of a mountain, but instead there's only one tiny picture, in black and white, at the beginning of each chapter. I would frustrate myself trying to figure out what I could see in the photo and wish each time for more. I'm sure there are plenty of cynics who will dislike the style and personal nature of this story, but if you don't have a heart of stone then do give it a chance because it just might speak to you about slowing down in your own life, making some changes, taking the time to stop and look and breathe...
You can read more book reviews or buy Following Atticus: How a little dog led one man on a journey of rediscovery to the top of the world by Tom Ryan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Following Atticus: How a little dog led one man on a journey of rediscovery to the top of the world by Tom Ryan at Amazon.com.
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