Friday, July 1, 2011

Dachshund Website Features I AM DACHSHUND! is featuring I AM DACHSHUND as their Book of the Month.  Check out this fantastic site for all things dachshund, and you'll be "delighted" at all the good things they offer.  Below is DD's review:

It's Christmas morning – yes, you're reading this in July, but bear with us for a minute here – and it's time to distribute the presents. There are four generations of a loving – a truly loving – family in the room, along with two friends so close that they are pretty much family members anyway. There are dogs, too, including Shadow the dachshund, who is narrating the scene for us. There are no hidden rivalries or contentions or just-below-the-surface resentments. It's the kind of Christmas morning we all wish we could have. And the beauty of it is this: once we start reading it, we become members of that big, extended family, and we're there with them.

That's how I AM DACHSHUND begins, and it continues through almost two years in the lives of the family. Some big things happen: one soul enters the world and another leaves it. Mostly, though, what happens is everyday life, acutely observed by the doxie. For as he tells us, "A dachshund has a keen insight about people." He does indeed, and he draws us in with him.

At the beginning of Mark Twain's book about his adventures, Huckleberry Finn tells us "You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Well, you don't know about this doxie and his family without you have read the first book. We reviewed it when it came out five years ago, and we've kept up with Mavis Duke Hinton, the author, in the intervening years. It's her real-life family in the books, and by the time you're finished with them, you'll know them well and be ready to welcome them into your own home.

Mostly, you will wish they would invite you over for dinner. Do not read this book on an empty stomach, unless you want to stain the pages with your drool. Many meals are lovingly prepared and described and consumed, and the smells of ribs and chicken and freshly baked bread with cranberry-banana jam almost rise off the page.

Considering that a dachshund narrates the story, there's not really any anthropomorphism at work here. Although he pretty much understands what is said – figures of speech confuse him, because he tends to take them literally – he doesn't exhibit any human characteristics, and only a couple characters claim to know what he's really thinking. There are other dog characters in the book, and, to his chagrin, some cats as well. This doxie interacts with them all, but there's no indication that they possess his narrative skills, or that he communicates with them in any variation of human language.

There's a strong strain of Christian faith throughout the book. The human "dad" is a preacher, and most all of the characters express thanks to God for their blessings and look to Him for guidance. But if you have another faith, or none at all in particular, you will still like and admire the people you meet in the book. There aren't any villains or conflicts here, and you won't miss having them around.

We heartily recommend I AM DACHSHUND. And although you can read it and enjoy it, without reading the first book, we think you should get both and read them in order.

And now, if you'll excuse us, we're going to cook up a good dinner and then drop Mavis a note asking her to get to work on her next book.

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