14 October 2009

The time we tried to do a book review because we didn't win the electric shocking fence.

You've heard of mommy blogging, right? You write irreverent stories about your kids on your blog, and when you're famous enough, corporations start throwing washer dryers your way, and gift bags with stuff like cake pans and support garments for you to give out in contests and then you get a book deal and go on Oprah and quit your day job forever.


Doesn't work like that exactly in doggy blogging. As far as I know. I think I get pretty many visitors to my blog. Depends on your moods. And whether or not I write about famous Canadian agility celebrities. But, like not enough that Maytag is gonna kick out the goods or give me crap to give away. I paid full price to Sears for my stackable washer/dryer unit. I'm not in this for the free stuff. I'm in it for the money.

That was a joke. Right?

So sometimes I get emails from people asking me to hype something or what have you and maybe I get something in return. Something really, super lame. That's sort of the level I'm at here in doggy blogging world. The other day, got an email from a guy who sells electric fences. These are invisible fences that you use by putting a shock collar on your dog and if they run through the laser beams which they can't see, shock-a-rama to the neck.

He had this great idea that I'd hype him and in return he'd give me an article written by a smiling vet about pet health insurance and I would be super grateful for this exchange. When I replied back, all, YEAH! NEAT! Does the smiling vet have an invisible fence for HER dogs with shocking laser beams, he sort of vanished away after explaining that the shock collars just feel like little love taps to the neck and moved on to the next doggy blogger.

So I can't even get a free shocking invisible fence. Geez.

So this guy Robert Rodi wrote a book about dog agility this year. Maybe you know him. He's a sloppy joe hating Chicago AKC exhibitor who dragged his dog through agility trials for a year and listens to classical music in the car. Yet also is an accomplished writer who has published many books. He emailed me about this book last summer, and I'm like, dude, show me the goods-how about a free copy? And he was all, sure no problem and then vanished into thin air because this is how my life works.

But being a good stalker, I totally internet stalked him and decided that I should shell out because sometimes I try to write books and maybe I could learn something from him because he's published a bunch of books, and then he goes and publishes one about dog agility. He could be like my inspiration! Because I write books all the time, or actually, portions of books all the time then I throw them in the trash on my computer. Because I go and read a TC Boyle book or listen to a David Sedaris story and I realize I completely suck.

The cupcake thing. Not getting gambles thing. Former artist thing. If I was vodka, I'd be squarely positioned on exactly the lower, middle shelf in the bar. Below waist height. It's just where I live.

Robert, dude, you out there? I shelled out full cover price on Amazon for your book! I NEVER do that. Hardcover! You are totally welcome because this is going to help you get the oil changed on your Saab!

So the name of the book is "Dogged Pursuit, My Year of Competing Dusty, the World's Least Likely Agility Dog".

Also, just so you know, I may be giving away the ending in this book review. As was pointed out to me immediately by a disgruntled book reader.

On the cover, there's a little yellow violator (that's graphic designer words for you there) with a quote by Augusten Burroughs that says it's "Hilarious and heartwarming" amongst other things. Augusten Burroughs. Dude! Serious level of writing here. We are impressed. Shining reviews on the back dust jacket cover by Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly.

But the front cover is sort of disturbing. A weird, magic of Photoshop that has Dusty staring out at you from a funny angle, while jumping a square, stripy, black and white jump. I can't put my finger on it, but it gives me the creeps. Just something sort of off about it, like Dusty is going to land on your face and the jump is kind of sliding off the cover to the west. So that was the first thing that put me off.

So the book is about how his first sheltie goes lame, and he gets a new one from a rescue group who is a bit issuey. So far so good. He tries to get the dog going in agility, and even though it doesn't seem to be working that great, starts trialing him. I learned a lot about AKC trials and how you do dog agility in the winter in somewhere that is not California, but I also felt really, really sorry for Dusty. It was kind of an excruciating read, until the end where he decides that Dusty wasn't really cut out for agility after all. I think he is actually a Control Unleashed dog and I bet Leslie McDevitt has already emailed Robert about this. She's good that way.

So it was hard to read. I was really worried about Dusty, but the ending was happy because Dusty got to quit and Robert got a new dog. I strive towards a good happy ending to all things in life including tv shows, films and books, so that was a relief. I did very much like the fish out of water element to the story. Robert was all freaked out by the dog agility ladies and their sloppy Joe's and I could relate to that. This was what freaked me out most about dog agility when I first started, and then I threw in the towel and totally just became a dog agility lady. Although we're lucky that in California, we get spinach quesadillas for our free worker lunches so the sloppy Joe's aren't an issue. And he is super honest. He admits to hiding in his car and listening to symphonies instead of working at the rings. That kind of brutal honestly took a lot of courage to write about and still show his face at dog agility class.

So I would say, everyone should go out and buy this book and read it. Mostly because Robert seems like a pretty cool guy and this will a little handful of change. It's hard to make money being an author. If I wrote a book, you'd all go pay actual money for it, right? Although he does have a Saab. So he's probably doing pretty well. But still. And it's a published book about dog agility. That is humorous. Because not everybody finds humor in dog agility. I do. If you haven't noticed. Robert does. He's sort of my hero. For today.

I do have one hardcover copy here to give away as a prize. That I paid FULL PRICE for on Amazon. I'm not sure as a prize for what. If you think you deserve it, post a comment here and tell me why and maybe you'll win.


Agility Foot said...

Geez, Laura, I just got this book and now I know the ending.
You can give your copy away as a raffle prize!!

team small dog said...

Oh man. I suck at book reviews. I will edit it to make sure if you haven't read it yet I am giving away the ending.

Elf said...

Oh, man, you have scooped me AGAIN! I have two things on my list to talk about in TMH this week, and they are:

*color by number (this is top secret, don't tell anyone I'm going to do a short post on this)
*dogged pursuit

So unfortunately I'm not going to read your post until I've actually written mine so that I don't taint my pure thoughts with your own other pure (presumably) thoughts.

P.S. In most online places where the reviewer gives away the ending, they just put a big line at the point in the article where things are revealed and it says "SPOILER ALERT: The rest of this post contains SPOILERS that give away the ending. DO NOT read further if you don't want to know!"

This is standard. You can use it without having to edit the actual content.

Anonymous said...

I thought that his partner took over the training and running of Dusty. I thought it was a pretty good book.

Laura and The Corgi, Toller, & Duck said...

well if you're still giving it away I am a pretty cool person.

My dogs may not be the world's least likely agility dog, I mean they don't see dead people or anything, but sometimes I wish I had your awesome Nancy Drew/Scooby Doo detective skills. Or if they just spoke English, yeah that would work too.

Oh, and my name is also Laura which means that I automatically win :)

-Laura and her 2 young dogs who have not started their adventures of real agility trials yet.

Kathleen said...

Hey Laura, have you read "Marley and Me?" I haven't, either. BUT, my friend who did read it said it really pissed her off because basically it's about a guy who didn't socialize or train his puppy then wrote about his misadventures with this unsocialized and untrained dog.

With the book and movie deals, the guy made millions!!! Sheesh!

team small dog said...

I read Marley and Me and it was horribly sad and I hate then when a book you hate makes you cry. It did make me feel better like my dogs aren't the most ill mannered dogs in the world and there are far worse dog trainers than me.

Spoiler Alert!

Yeah, Robert's partner ran Dusty in some trials when he broke his foot but I think it didn't last real long and Dusty still got to quit agility.

Robert's book has a super happy ending as opposed to Marley and Me. A lot of dog books end with the dog dying. I hate that. Thanks for the happy ending Robert!

Diana said...

Im sorry but I hated the book. I didnt even finish reading it. I threw it in the trash on the way out of the doctors office. I only got to the part about "magic time" or something like that. That was TMI for me. Diana

underground dog fence said...

I could not connect much with this book, sorry to say that, i hope you understand.


Invisible Fence said...

Wow, an electric shocking fence contest...first time I heard of that..

electric dog fence said...

I think it would be a interesting book. I'd collect the book and would give my opinion here again. Thank you.