Half-way through the memoir I flipped back to the beginning of the book to read the entry from Wikipedia which states: "Australian Aborigines slept with their dogs for warmth on cold nights, the coldest being a 'three dog night'." Then I understood the meaning of the title. It wasn't about the lives of Abigail's three dogs, it was the warmth, comfort, and security she gathered from them during the coldest season of her life. The journey her life took after her husband's accident was riddled with moments of depression, internal enlightenment, more depression, sadness, unanswered questions, and finally acceptance. But, through it all, her constants remained those warm, reassuring canine bodies that pressed themselves against her while she slept.
This memoir is of few words but is very touching. The first half of the book is extremely depressing, as the author tries to come to terms with what is essentially the loss of her husband (who because of a brain injury is essentially a different person.) With the help of her dogs, friends, and family, including her husband, she eventually overcomes her loneliness and finds small comforts and joy in her single life.
Although the title would imply otherwise, this is not a Marley and Me type pet memoir. The dogs are the focus of one or two chapters and make appearances in many of the others, but this is essentially a book about how one woman transforms her life in the face of grief.
This small book evokes so many different emotions for me. At first, I thought it would be too painful to read, too raw. However, it captured my heart and I wanted to read it. It is lyrical in its prose and I so very much enjoyed the phrases and words that this author chose to describe her life. It is utterly heartbreaking at times and yet so life-affirming, powerful and so true. I loved this book. I am so sorry the author had to experience this painful, horrifying, life-changing event but it has most certainly brought forth a beautiful book. I cannot recommend this book enough. It may be small but it is gloriously mighty in emotion and thought.
I have fallen so in love with this book that I am having a hard time reposting it. Abigail Thomas writes with her heart, about a life that some would find depressing. I didn't find this book depressing at all, but rather, a testament to what the human spirit can endure and overcome. She expresses her thoughts, feelings and emotions so vividly through her writing, that the reader has no choice but to come along for the ride and is left feeling all these things with her. An absolutely wonderful book!
This is a very quick read. The basis of this memoir is that the husband of the author has a life changing accident. The book is well written and delves into how the author copes with the changes in her life, her husband's injuries, her age and how her three dogs help her to be comforted. If you appreciate the love a dog can bring into your life you will enjoy this book. The author has a way of making mundane routine compelling. After reading this book you will appreciate the people and pets in your life that give you their love.
This book will tear your heart out. If you have had anyone in your life with dementia, psychosis or a brain disorder, you may find yourself saying, "I didn't know anyone else felt this way". Brutally honest this book reminded me of the Joan Didion memoir about the death of her husband, but with hope.
I very much enjoyed this story. It is a true story of a woman who's husband suffers a brain injury. She grieved, and then writes as she slowly re-build a life for herself and her husband. She is a very brave woman, and does not permit herself to become engulfed in despair and depression. What a wonderful, strong, woman!
From the Publisher: When Abigail Thomass husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his skull was shattered, his brain severely damaged. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he was sent to live in a nursing facility that specializes in treating traumatic brain injuries. He had no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude.
Life is not perfect. Tragedy can strike at any minute. How do you handle it when it happens to you? Thomas faces her tragedy with grace and poise. After her husband is injured in a horrific accident, Thomas begins the seemingly unending cycle of hospitals, doctors, and emergency calls. Eventually, Thomas realizes that, while Richs life may remain in a state of limbo, her life must go on. She manages to find a balance between the wife she continues to be, and the woman who must now find meaning in her life -- on her own terms. She finds comfort with friends, family, and above all else her dogs. This is truly a story of love, loss, and ultimately healing.
I applaud Thomas for her ability to stand by her husband under such devastating circumstances. Her memoir is honest and thought provoking -- sharing her feelings of fear, self-reproach, and even happiness. Her love for Rich is evident in her writing. "A Three Dog Life" is a true love story and a joy to read.
I very much enjoyed this story of how a woman accepts the tragedy of her husband's sudden illness, and moves forward with her new lifestyle of living alone. The companionship of her pet dogs help her to ease into her new lifestyle.
A quick easy read, but it says a lot! It's about a woman's life after her husband gets brain damage from an accident. He eventually lands in a nursing home and there is some dementia present, along with some aggression. Obviously from the title, she has dogs (and they are her saviors.) One of those "inside your head" kind of books with some laugh-out-loud moments to even out the sadness.
Engaging, sad, raw, honest, and at times, even witty. I enjoyed the author's writing style. Scattered thoughts are typically what happens in reality after such a tragedy. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one in any way, you may find yourself physically nodding along at times in understanding.
I received this book in the mail yesterday afternoon. I finished it last night. It is a fast read but don't let that fool you, it is a powerful book.
This is a story of life after a tragedy and the author really makes you feel it. I highly recommend this book!
You will want to run in and hug your husband as never before.
As a dog-parent, and the best friend of my life partner whom I've known for 2/3 of my life, I loved this book. I want to be like her if something ever happens to my husband; napping during the day with my three dogs snuggled closely to me.
This exquisitely-written memoir is Abigail Thomas' account of her experiences following her husband Rich's catastrophic injury. Bracingly honest, insightful and real, it beautifully captures the myriad facets of a life irrevocably changed. Dog lovers and knitters especially will find beauty in these pages, but those who have suffered a traumatic, life-altering event will find comfort and commonality of spirit also. Possibly the best memoir I have ever read - I already have a list of friends waiting their turn for this copy!
Difficult to read, I can imagine the author scribbling away while at her husband's bedside, this book is a testament to the strength we all can find with in our soul. I would recommend this book to any LONG TERM caregiver who has come to peace with a trying situation. I would not recommend for somebody just learning to deal with the devestation of a new, terminal diagnosis
Ms Thomas's reflections on the life she lived after her husbands tragic accident;getting thru the guilt she felt each time she visited and then left to go back to the home she shared with him and the reflecting memories of their time together. Sad, but not maudlin.For richer or poorer,in sickness,etc....marriage is a committment and she kept true to the vows, helped by her dogs comforting presence in times of loneliness.
In this age of "throw away relationships" it was heartening to read of such a deep commitment by a wife for her permanently disabled husband. Ms. Thomas' life was thrown into turmoil when her husband suffered debilitating injuries from being hit by a car and she relates how she coped with these events. The title reflects the role her pets have in keeping her anchored and sane in dealing with losing the husband she loves to brain injury. Although I found this story sad Ms. Thomas manages to relate how to cling to the better times and cope with the not so good.
I liked this story about the loyalty of a wife whose husband lost his memory from a brain injury he received while walking the dog and never recovered...her dogs were her companions through all of this...I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to those that like dogs for sure.
Although this narrative was rich in fantastic imagry and symbolism which drew me into the emotion of a woman surviving the living grief whose husband suffered from a severe brain injury that totally changed his personality, the book altogether was almost like reading poetry written in prose format.
What I mean is that the narrative didn't really go anywhere. It was loosely told in small vigniettes which were sometimes no more than couple of paragraphs long that leaped between past and present, often without warning. There was no "plot" or progression through events or time that I could see.
I think that I would have better appreciated the book if I had read it just a little at a time. However, I did not have time for that.
The discuaaion questions included at the end of the book, for once, help me to understand some of the symbolism and also what the author intended to say. (Usually, discussion questions annoy me. They rememd me of assignment questions and reading quizes in literature courses in Junion High and High school. I keep thinking that I have to write an essay!)
One of the problems, though, is that I did not realize that the book was of memoires. I thought I was buying an ordinary general fiction novel.
But, despite my complaints, this book overall showed a fastinating and honest journey, sometimes warm, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, and sometimes even humorous, of one woman's pain, grief, and healing, with the help of her three dogs.
This is the second book I've read about traumatic brain injury. (The first was Cathy Crimmin's Where is the Mango Princess? - which I also highly recommend.) The combination of reading the two totally brings out the distressing fact that after a brain injury, the loved one is really transformed into a new person with some remnants of the old, and surprising new aspects of personality. It really is as if her husband has died and been replaced by a very odd stranger. It also is similar to Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, in the insistence that "...everything changes in the instant." Thomas ends up living alone in the country with three dogs in a lovely old house.
This book is a gentle story about an horrific event, and the changes it brings to Thomas's life and marriage. Reading A Three Dog Life will remind anyone that needs reminding, of the precariousness of good times and relationships, and to cherish those we love.
I finished this book this morning and I have to say it was a tough read at the end with tears in my eyes. Interesting, given that my daughter read it years ago in her mid 30s and she didn't love it. I am about the same age as the author was when she wrote it and maybe that is the difference.
I totally identified with Abigail. I was a very sick woman a few years ago and was in a coma for 10 days, followed by 6 month recovery. My husband rarely left my side during that time. This gave me some insight to what he went through.
I could also easily relate to the issue of caring for my husband should he have a stroke, which is what his father and brother both died from. It is a frightening thought for sure. I only hope that if something that horrible happens to us, I will have the strength that Abby had during her ordeal.
I hope she is having a good life filled with wonderful memories!
A sort of stream of consciousness report of a woman whose husband, Rich, had a car accident and became another person. She could not take care of him any longer, and eventually put him into a specialized nursing facility. She gets three dogs, over time, and lives her life with them, chronicling daily life and her musings about life.
Excellent read. Very touching story of life in the real world. This is not a dog book, not a woman book, not a book for married people, but a book for people. It brings all things into play that happen to people in life and provides a point of view to get through it with sanity and grace.
I wanted to love this book. I really, really wanted to, but I found it too sparely written. I wanted to know more about what she did and why, I wanted to know more details about her husband. It was a little too ethereal for me.
Being a dog-lover and owner myself, I was thinking that there would be more of a role for the dogs in this book. However, she hardly mentions them. This is a memoir; there is no climax; it is just " a day in the life" book.
A story about a wife dealing with the loss of her husband, mentally, after a devasting car crash, that deals with brain injury. Also the authors journey with loving her 3 dogs too. The characters are true, the author writes with the ability to have the eader connect with the actual story. I enjoyed & will remember this love story for a long time.
This is a beautiful book, not a sad reminiscence about a wife's loss. It contains those unique, quirky details of a person's inner life that one usually only gets to know after working in the trenches with them, knowing them a long time. Like the guitar-playing wild man of my youth who would get drunk, leave his job for six months, go down to Mexico and come back with velvet paintings of Jesus saying they were just "so beautiful" to him that night. Or that he loved "whompin' thighed women".
What you notice is not how Abigail Thomas describes, with no pity at all, what is happening to her, but those unique, tiny details that she zeros in on that are who she is. Like finding and saving for years mangled windshield wipers that look like a bird in flight. Unlike most people, the difference is that she knows what it is that makes her unique.
For me, this book was so insignificant that I don't have anything to say about it. I guess anyone can write a memoir these days. I understand that the author had a tragedy in her life, but who hasn't? I feel like the time I spent reading this book was a waste. I also feel like this woman is totally self-absorbed. Her novel led me to believe that she lived primarily for her own pleasure. How about using your free time and resources to help others?
A very interesting, moment-by-moment sort of book. Not necessarily chronological, but stream of thought sometimes. Tells many of the thoughts and reactions one has after learning devastating this-will-be-lifelong-but-I-don't-know-it-yet kind of news. A very good writer, takes you into her moment-by-moment living of life. I'm learning to do this!
Very depressing read. Not about dogs. It is about a woman who had a full life with her husband before the accident. After the accident, they are together but apart. He is a care facility and she lives close by and sees him every day. It is a different life before accident and after and how you adapt. Very raw.
This book is terrifying and wonderful at the same time. It is written like a journal and varies between her life caring for a husband with a traumatic brain injury, and how her dogs helped her work through different issues. It speaks to her guilt and the what-ifs and then compares her feelings to the in-the-moment personality of dogs. Initially I bought this because I thought it was a dog book, but once I started it I was compelled to finish it. Its a short book (182 pages) and I looked forward to finishing it and moving on but I also didnt want to finish it because I was so drawn to the authors story. I highly recommend this book.
Well, it is an interesting book. The thought process that went into the book seemed very disjointed. The whole story would have been greatly improved if it followed a timeline-even a loosely based timeline. The emotions are very real and hard to face, you can feel the guilt and frustration through out the book. Could relate to the sense of being OK with your dog. I know it is a memoir but really hoped for better detail,history and involvement with the characters.
I did like this book however I felt it drawn out and slow. But saying that, it did still grab my attention to what this gal is going through. She has a different way of writing. I would suggest it only to certain friends who I think may like it but not to everyone.