Jennifer Finney Boylan | Nonfiction Memoir 2020
I thought Good Boy: My Life in a Seven Dogs was one of those sappy books where a dog and its owner fall inextricably in love and then at the end the dog dies and the reader weeps. Actually, I was hoping it was one of those books.
It isn’t. Instead it is exactly what it claims to be ... “my life.” It is a memoir of the author’s life, age 11 to age 60-ish. Dogs play an important role, but they are not the central characters. When the book begins, the author is James. When the book ends, the author is Jennifer. Remarkably, she spends nearly 30 years as James before she transitions.
This book is not the least bit preachy or political. It is simply an honest heartfelt story of one person’s life. There is nothing particularly remarkable about this person’s life, other than the obvious truth, and the fact that he and she had some of the most misbehaved and undisciplined dogs I have ever read about. Interestingly, this is at least the fourth memoir Boylan has written about her life (and her 16th book). She apparently tells her story though a variety of lenses, including parenting from both genders.
I enjoyed Good Boy very much. I don’t know how it would read if you have read any of her other memoirs, but this being my first, I found her writing style light, sometimes humorous, (especially about her crazy dogs), vulnerable, very self-aware, and insightful. I both learned and was entertained.