Title: The Thing Is
Author: Kathleen Gerard
About the Book: Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.
Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.
My thoughts: This was a charming read with the story being told in alternating chapters by Meredith and by Prozac. I think that every dog owner wants to believe that they own a dog as smart and wise as Prozac was. I found myself wondering if my dog ever thought some of the things that this dog thought!
Prozac was a "Spirit Guide Dog" and had really only signed on for this job to get to his dream job/life - that of being on stage and basking in the limelight. The Canine Dispatch Board promised him that once this life was complete, he would be all set for his life on stage. His new owner is an elderly woman named Helen. She is a big dog lover and trains him to be a therapy dog (not very successfully. . . ) but persistence pays off. She takes him to various groups and homes to visit patients and elderly and for the most part, Prozac loves it. He can't figure out though what his purpose for this life is. Helen breaks her foot and must find a temporary home for him and that is where Meredith comes along. This is really where the story starts as Meredith is anything but a dog lover. She has also been in hiding (physically and emotionally) since the death of her fiance 3 years earlier. She gets bullied into taking care of Prozac and if you have ever taken care of a dog, then you know it is hard to not to fall in love.
This was an easy and enjoyable read. I was somewhat surprised by the ending, but came to accept that it was right for the story.
About the author: Kathleen Gerard is a writer whose work has been awarded The Perillo Prize, The Eric Hoffer Prose Award and nominated for Best New American Voices and Short Story America, all national prizes in literature. Kathleen writes across genres. Her short prose and poetry have been widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies. Her essays have been broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Kathleen's woman-in-jeopardy novel IN TRANSIT won The New York Book Festival - "Best Romantic Fiction" (2011).
Kathleen is a book reviewer for and a contributor to Shelf Awareness and maintains the blog, "Reading Between the Lines."
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/KathleenGerard
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathleengerard.writer
On Red Adept: http://bit.ly/RAPThingIs
~I received a complimentary pdf of this book from Red Adept Publishing in exchange for my honest review.~