Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The First Major Review Is In--

The Book of Barkley
By LB Johnson
Outskirts Press, $13.99, 246 pages, Format: Trade

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

It started with the dream of a puppy, a dream that soon outdistanced practicality and well-meaning advice. This pensive memoir of the ten years L. B. Johnson shared with her dog Barkley will resonate with animal lovers everywhere, especially those who carry the memory of a beloved pet in their hearts.

“It is the story of someone that did not know his destiny, but followed it with unfaltering step, bound to me, not by vows or paper, but in the name of the trust that was the best part of his nature.”

The Book of Barkley: Love and Life Through the Eyes of a Labrador Retriever is a dog tale for sure. Barkley bounds across the pages leaving behind a plethora of anecdotes to keep the reader engaged and chuckling. There is a pajama-clad Johnson in her slippers chasing her black lab puppy through the neighborhood; the case of the missing pizza and a contented canine with pepperoni breath; and the classic irony of a dog that loves water and hates baths. Johnson is at home with description. She brings her furry soul mate to life with words.

At first it seems a weakness that initials replace first names or a brother is simply “Big Bro.” Specifics about place and time are shrouded. However, Johnson is generous with her interior life. Thoughts, feelings and impressions inspired by Barkley are throughout and lend a universal quality to their story. Like the author, most of us grapple with past loss, and worse still, the losses yet to come…still we take risks. Johnson writes, “Some things are just too precious to pass up even as we know we can’t hold them forever.”

Stories about great pets abound, yet there is always room for one more. The Book of Barkley holds its own in this genre. The give and take between delightful doggy antics retold and the author’s musings, often lyrical and heartbreaking, strikes a satisfying counterbalance. Like all animal lovers, Johnson realized many life lessons with Barkley as her companion, not the least of which that home is in the heart.


  1. Outstanding! A good review in the open press! Congrats!

  2. Monkeywrangler said it. I guess I'm stuck just saying "Awesome." :-)

  3. Monkeywrangler - Thanks for all the support through this and as always, your friendship, off blog.

    MSgt B - If you have email addresses, you can send a gift kindle copy for anyone for Christmas instantly for just $2.99, through Amazon, if you have any last minute "oops, I forgot to get something for . . . . . "

    Lantry - thank you as always, for your comments, your visits, and your support.

  4. Very nice!! Congratulations on the well deserved commentary! Have a Holy and Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Years!

  5. Holy cow, how cool is THAT??? Awesome review for an awesome book by an awesome author.

  6. That is VERY cool. By the way, I spent last night playing guitar with a 100 lb black lab trying very hard to climb into my lap all the while. Gave me a whole new appreciation for your life with Barkley.

    Merry Christmas, Brigid, to you & Partner.

  7. Way to go Sister! Glad you got some outside recognition!

  8. Well of course it is all those things ! Brigid is an artist who paints beautiful scenes with mere words !


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..