Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs

Celadon. Apr. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781250261878. $26.99. BIOG.
New York Times columnist, novelist, and memoirist Boylan (She’s Not There) believes that the magic of dogs is not that they love us unconditionally, but rather “what’s unconditional is the love we have for them.” Boylan maintains that dog owners are able fully to understand themselves through this love, which she deftly demonstrates in seven vignette-like chapters about her life. Each chapter is loosely based upon a dog she’s owned and the pivotal moments that occurred during that time. Boylan’s experiences are expressed with a captivating blend of deep reflection and wry humor, delving into her discomfort in her skin as a young boy, struggles in relationships, the death of her father, her transition to womanhood, and her child’s own transition. The dogs are wonderfully portrayed with all of their quirks. Boylan makes astute observations about the way that dogs reflect back their owner’s struggles, sometimes in unexpected ways.
VERDICT Boylan’s candor and distinctive writing style will appeal to readers of reflective memoirs. A solid choice for libraries looking to expand their LGBTQ biography collections.

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