Friday, November 25th, 2011
As someone with two degrees in English, I’ve read more than my share of the classics. John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley wasn’t one of them. I was excited to read it when I heard it would be the first book in Edie‘s dog travel book club.
I even had the book read by the due date. I’m just too burned out from years of writing book reviews to sit down and do another one. I did enjoy the book, though, and I want to write a few things about it. So think of this not as a formal book review but an informal sharing of things I noticed.
First of all, I loved the fact that Charley was a poodle. I don’t see all that many of them around, let alone ones owned by men, so I was tickled by the notion that this famous writer took his poodle along for the cross-country trip.
I also appreciated all the little details about Charley. The way he says, “Ftt” when he needs to get out of the truck and take care of business. How generally even-tempered he is. I laughed out loud during one extended “conversation” between Steinbeck and Charley.
Two parts stood out for me: the description of the two (very different) vets who examined Charley for his bladder issues and the unique change in Charley’s temperament when they drive through Yellowstone. I have my own dog with bladder issues (Cupid is prone to bladder stones), so I appreciated the second vet who actually did something about the problem. And I could easily imagine Charley’s rising anxiety about seeing the bears in Yellowstone.
I have to admit I’m pretty envious of the descriptions of Charley being off leash so much. I do not have enough faith in my dogs’ recall to do that. I guess it’s something to strive for.
Here’s my favorite quote: “If manners maketh man, then manner and grooming maketh poodle.” Anyone who has owned a poodle can relate to this. There’s something about a newly groomed poodle that’s full of spunk and attitude.
Following Atticus is the book scheduled for discussion next month.
I’ll try to finish the book and write about it in a more timely fashion this time around.