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A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
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A Three Dog Life (edition 2007)

by Abigail Thomas

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7584912,258 (3.68)37
Member:PaperbackPirate
Title:A Three Dog Life
Authors:Abigail Thomas
Info:Harvest Books (2007), Edition: 1, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:2011

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A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

2007 (3) 2009 (4) 2010 (4) accident (5) autobiography (13) biography (16) brain damage (7) brain injury (15) brain trauma (6) dogs (53) essays (4) fiction (5) grief (11) illness (10) loss (4) love (4) marriage (19) memoir (151) New York (5) NF (3) non-fiction (65) own (5) pets (7) read (11) read in 2007 (5) read in 2008 (7) to-read (15) tragedy (5) traumatic brain injury (7) unread (3)
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English (47)  Dutch (2)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
I read this in a few short hours, it was a sweet story about love and dedication. Makes me want to hug my husband a little tighter. ( )
  amandafite | Mar 6, 2014 |
I love the title"Three dog life" from the aborigines who sleep with their dogs. A cold night is a three dog night. Our pets sometimes are what help us through the difficulty in our lives. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
The wolf is always at the door. Thomas writes sparely and movingly of how her husband's devastating brain injury has changed and illuminated her life. Difficult to read without doing some personalizing and catastrophizing, for me anyway. Solid, moving, and unsentimental. ( )
1 vote satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
I feel bad giving such a low rating to this--it's so...literary in its intent, and Abigail was a woman I found it easy to identify with undergoing a terrible tragedy. It wasn't far in that she was telling of her first date with her husband at Moon Palace in the Columbia University area of New York City, and it brought back memories--it was where my mother took me for my first taste of Chinese food as a child. There were a lot of landmarks for me such as that one in this memoir. But some of that identification was undercut by my feeling too conscious of the literary style--usually first person, but sometimes second person, often in present tense, shifting in time, with jumbling, stream-of-consciousness touches. Abigail Thomas teaches writing and at times the book screamed New Yorker to me. (The magazine, not the people.) I do like literary fiction; I can even name entire novels I've read--and enjoyed--in the exotic second person. But the good books make me forget I'm reading in a literary style--this made me overly aware of it.

The other reason I can't honestly rate it high is that it was such a downer. Please understand, for me ratings are a completely subjective marker--and if I'm honest this isn't a book I enjoyed. Despite what the title and cover might lead you to believe, this isn't a heart-warming book about dogs. This is the epigraph heading the book:

Australian Aborigines slept with their dogs for warmth on cold nights, the coldest being a "three dog night." - Wikipedia

Abigail Thomas enters a "three dog life" when her husband is severely injured by a car accident. His frontal lobe gone, like others who have sustained Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), her husband Rich would suffer: "psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, rages." The man she'd known and loved was--gone. Yes, there are three dogs who feature in the narrative--but this isn't a story about dogs. This is about mourning a person not yet dead but just as irretrievably gone. And despite mentions of family and friends in this memoir she comes across as isolated, alone. Not even three dogs can provide enough warmth to withstand the chill this book exuded to me. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Dec 3, 2012 |
Engaging, sad, raw, honest, and at times, even witty. I enjoyed the author's writing style. Scattered thoughts are typically what happens in reality after such a tragedy. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one in any way, you may find yourself physically nodding along at times in understanding. ( )
1 vote leila_summers | Jul 12, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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This is the one thing that stays the same: my husband got hurt.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156033232, Paperback)

When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his skull was shattered, his brain severely damaged. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations—and with no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before—he was sent to live in a nursing facility that specializes in treating traumatic brain injuries. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lived in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. Hailed by Stephen King as "the best memoir I have ever read," this wise, plainspoken, beautiful book enacts the truth Abigail has discovered since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:39 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When Abigail Thomas's husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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