The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People

Knopf. Sept. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780525658818. $26. PETS
Like so many strays, this “throwaway” dog named Speck had obviously been living outdoors for quite a while before he wandered onto the Alabama property of Pulitzer Prize–winning author Bragg (All Over But the Shoutin’; Ava’s Man). Starving, filthy, with torn ears and multiple scars, and blind in one eye, this speckled dog stank. He chased and herded everything—the jackasses in the pasture, the resident cats, delivery vehicles, people. He dragged home stinking carcasses and peed on everything. Yet there was a bond between Bragg and Speck. Bragg had survived chemo but was wasted and exhausted by its side effects. Maybe he felt admiration for this stinky, furry survivor, or delight in the joy Speck exhibited every time Bragg looked at him. Whatever it was, there was no doubt that Speck was his dog, and he couldn’t resist loving him. Bragg’s story will resonate with dog lovers and with his many fans, who will recognize this book’s enjoyably colloquial tone from his monthly essays in Southern Living magazine.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers who would enjoy an Appalachian Marley and Me where the dog doesn’t die. Bookstores and libraries should anticipate enormous demand.
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