Dog Years

Dog Years

A Memoir

Book - 2007
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A Washington Post Book World Best Book of the Year

Winner of the Israel Fishman-Stonewall Book Award for Nonfiction

"Tender and amusing. . . . Doty brilliantly captures the qualities that make dogs endearing." -- The New Yorker

When Mark Doty decides to adopt a dog as a companion for his dying partner, he brings home Beau, a large, malnourished golden retriever in need of loving care. Joining Arden, the black retriever, to complete their family, Beau bounds back into life. Before long, the two dogs become Doty's intimate companions, and eventually the very life force that keeps him from abandoning all hope during the darkest days.

Dog Years is a poignant, intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about living, love, and loss.

Publisher: New York : Harper Collins, c2007.
ISBN: 9780061171000
Characteristics: viii, 215 p. ;,22 cm.


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To enjoy this book you will probably have to be a bit of a dog person. It is the memoir of Mark Doty, an American writer and teacher, and takes place over about ten years. During this time, Doty faces the loss of his partner to HIV, the bombing of the World Trade Center, and the busy responsibility of two full-time dogs. This book is exceedingly well-written, and I am so glad I accidentally picked it up while looking for Canadian literature (and despite that it made me cry on the car ride home from work nearly every day). The library owns both the book and the audiobook, but I especially recommend the audio version as it is read by the author and is an absolute delight. (submitted by TH)

Jul 06, 2018

Why this book has only three stars is beyond me. It is an excellent true account, a memoir by Mark Doty of his two dogs Arden and Beau. The cover depicts them both walking together in New England. Both dogs come alive for the readers as Doty intertwines their lives and the social and personal events of the mid-1990's to 9-11. Dog Years is a tome to not only Arden and Beau but his partner's death from HIV and how this and the events of 9-11 culminated to push him into a deep depression. Doty's narrative is at times ironically funny and tragic when he recounts how he was so paranoid in the 1990's trying to hide that he had two dogs when he tried to rent a house when people had more of an issue of him having a male partner. One can picture potential rent ads stating no dogs or gays allowed in the description. Some of the observations made by Doty are so sadly true as he summarizes that dog's having such shorter lives than humans we are forced to see our loved ones from their infancy to death in a matter of a decade. This is a sad book, but one that is true and filled with so much emotion. Doty is also an excellent writer and his prose makes this an easily accessible book.


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JCLHelenH Oct 05, 2016

"The narcissism of depression is a hole with very steep sides."

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