Most Christmas books have messages of love, missed love, and salvation in unexpected forms. They're often simple stories, with little need to review. Melody Carlson's The Christmas Dog falls into this category.
Betty Kowalski is a scared, lonely, elderly widow. Her neighborhood is changing. The house once owned by beloved neighbors is now owned by Jack Jones, and he's been nothing but trouble for Betty. He works in the house in the middle of the night, has junk around the yard, and fought over the ramshackle fence that separates their yards. She's afraid of him, and suspects she'd be better off if she sold her house, and moved to Florida with her daughter.
Betty's routine is thrown off when two waifs show up at her door. The first is a mongrel dog she suspects belongs to Jack, because it's just the kind of dirty, ill-kept mutt that he'd own. The other is her step-granddaughter, Avery, a twenty-three-year-old young woman who fought with her mother, and took off hitchhiking, ending up on Betty's door. Both Avery and the dog stretch Betty's limited budget, but she loves Avery, and takes her in. She reluctantly agrees to take in the dog when Avery offers to clean him up and care for him.
Carlson's story tells of three lonely people, and a dog who brings them together. It's a story of love, and rescue. Betty realizes she's made mistakes. "Love had come scratching at Betty's door in the form of a little brown dog, and she had completely missed it. She'd had her chance to welcome it, to receive it, and she had slammed the door in its face." But, as in so many warm books of the season, love, and messages, come in unexpected forms. In Betty Kowalski's case, it comes in the form of an unlikely messenger, The Christmas Dog.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.