Book 142: Comet’s Tale – Steven Wolf

I rarely read nonfiction and even more rarely go out of my way to read nonfiction. However, when I saw the cover to the right I HAD to request a copy of this book to read. I requested a copy from the publisher via Net Galley. The response below is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return for reading the novel.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill is two-for-two for wonderful books I’ve read so far! Comet’s Tale was an endearing read and touching read, and I thoroughly enjoyed The Art Forger, which I read earlier this year.

Now the reason I requested to read a copy of this book is because of the beautiful greyhound, Comet, on the cover. I currently live with a greyhound and she constantly baffles me with her joie de vivre and just her lovable personality and I wanted to know if she was unique. Blogging world, meet Olivia:

How can you not love her adorableness in that photo? Tom took this photo one day after everyone else had left for work and it definitely made my day. That is pretty much how she spends her days lounging at home. I think it’s hilarious that she’s so sprawled out and always tease her about how she should be more lady like, but it means she’s comfortable and loves us. Olivia is about six years old and is a retired racer (tattoos and all) and she definitely shows a lot of the same characteristics as Comet from the book. The way she plays, the way I know she judges me and her higher-than-thou look she gives you when she thinks you’re being an idiot are just a couple of examples.

Before living with Olivia, I had never interacted with greyhounds. I mean I knew they were gorgeous and appeared throughout history, but that was the extent of my knowledge. And needless to say the book was spot-on about quite a few things. There was one line particularly which made me laugh because Olivia pretty much gives me the same ‘are you kidding me’ type reaction,

“Yet she was stubbornly independent and didn’t hesitate to let me know when I was asking her to do something she deemed beneath her station. For instance, when I tried to train her to shake hands, she found the task overwhelmingly stupid and simply sat and ignored me. And unless we were at the lake, my tossed tennis balls were met with an expression that seemed to say, You poor, deluded man. I would no sooner fetch a ball from dry land than I would hunt quail for dinner. What would be the point?” (loc.1741)

I feel like Comet and Olivia would be awesome friends if only because they live with a bunch of crazies! Perhaps, because I live with a greyhound, I’m much more aware of them than most people, but I have actually seen a greyhound service dog in New England. I can’t remember exactly where I was, but I definitely did a double take as I was in the grocery store, but my only thought was ‘awesome’.

I think Wolf did a good job providing a lot of background information on the greyhound breed and their history, as well as providing information on the atrocities many greyhounds face when tracks close down or the dogs are abandoned. Some of the examples he provided really put a wrench in my gut.

However, what moved me most about the book was the interweaving of the different journeys. We all know I’m a sucker for journeys, from coming of age stories to actual physical journeys, if a book has a good one, I’m there. Comet’s Tale definitely has multiple good journeys. The interweaving stories of both Comet and Wolf’s survivals, Wolf’s family interactions and finally his journey to writing the book.

If there is one down side to my reading the book, it has to do with the galley itself. For some reason it did not display any numbers so I just made up times and interstate numbers and any time the letter ‘f’ appeared with an ‘i’ or another ‘f’ or a ‘t’ they would disappear so ‘fifty’ became ‘y’ and ‘difference’ became ‘dierence’. It definitely challenged my inferring skills on a couple of occasions.

Recommendation: It’s definitely worth a read. I’m not sure I would’ve bought this book if I came across it in a book store or even checked it out in the library, but I am glad I read it. It’s a heartwarming story which is both humorous and thought-provoking. Learning to laugh at yourself is a vital point of becoming a human being and I think the author did a great job getting this message, among many, across.

Opening Line: “But in the quiet, a message reverberated: Hello. I am Comet. I choose you.”

Closing Line: “I remember how surprised I was and that I said out loud, ‘I think Comet likes me.'” (Whited out.)

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8 thoughts on “Book 142: Comet’s Tale – Steven Wolf

    • She is such a happy dog! And what the book really brought home is how much they really suffer as racers, and yet are somehow able to move on and be these happy, trusting, loving creatures.

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  1. What a beautiful dog and an intelligent one too. The quote you highlighted reminded me of some thing I witnessed recently. A guest at a holiday villa here in Provence was playing with the dog of the owner and threw the dog’s ball into the pool, telling him to fetch it. The dog looked at him, just as described and didn’t move. So the man dived into the pool and fetched the ball himself, rolling over the side of the pool. Well, then the dog picks up the ball and throws it back into the pool and the man says “Now hold on a minute here. Who’s actually playing this game.” I’m still laughing nearly a month later.

    That thing with the f’s I’ve had that before with another title from NetGalley and it is really annoying, no idea why they do that, but it really detracts from the reading experience for sure.

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  2. Olivia looks like what my family would describe as a ‘barn pot’ (translation a bit crazy) but I think there the best dogs! Never known anyone with a greyhound, always thought they were beautiful dogs though.

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