"Izzy and Lenore" is another great, fun book about Katz's dogs. The book left me convinced again that the benefit of having a dog in your life is an indescribable pleasure, and for both dog and owner, an opportunity to grow and learn.
Katz writes about his dogs without making them saints or nightmares. He has a very honest appreciation for the relationship between dogs and owners, and the parts both play in that pairing.
Katz's books about dogs can't appear often enough for me. First captivated by Orson, the wonderful/devildog border collie that Katz owned and trained, "My First Dog" was a lovely tribute to a dog that was a handful!
A must-read for dog owners!
I was pleasantly surprised on his easy going style of writing and the surprise of what the book is actually about, yes Izzy and Lenore make a presence, but it is beyond the bonds of human and animal. It is about the unknown sense and feelings of animals and their awareness towards death. I am not surprised that an animal might be more intuitive of the needs of the dying than we as humans have, who are so uncomfortable with the idea of death. It begs us to try to understand what is this strange fear we have, does it make us realize our own mortality? Does this create a bond we will never know about between a deathbed patient and an animal?
|Title: Izzy and Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me|
Author(s): Jon Katz
ISBN: 1-60751-160-6 / 978-1-60751-160-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Villard Books
I can't say that I LOVED 100% of this book. I didn't. I was not too turned off by the author's admission of and struggle with depression, I too can relate to that, and respect his openess. It did snag a few otherwise perfect (opinion! opinion!) snipets of the story, but certainly didn't ruin them. The parts that could have been skipped for me? Oh gosh, now I can't remember! That's what happens when you read a few books inbetween :) I suppose that since I'm highly recommending Izzy and Lenore that I will leave it at this. Well, this: stock up on kleenexes and don't drive (like I did) while listening to it (too dangerous with such tear blurred vision).
Izzy and Lenore is a schizophrenic work, alternating between touching and strangely egotistical. The stories within the pages of this book are heart-wrenching and inspirational, but they are not well-written. There is no apparent structure or organization; the chapters are haphazard constructions with little flow between or within them, leaving the message of the work muddled. The writing is riddled with broad, sweeping conclusions that often feel out of place. In fact, the majority of Katz's writing feels oddly conclusory, even throughout the book's introduction and the beginning of each new story. It seems that, at least in this particular case, Katz was simply trying too hard to be a deep, philosophical writer. In the attempt, he instead came out sounding amateurish and a bit arrogant. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that Katz often interrupts his stories to go on lengthy tangents with the purpose of describing his depression and suffering or of repeatedly detailing the specific ways in which he feels his personal life has been changed by various experiences. These trains of thought do not mesh well with the surrounding tales of hospice work and the power of animals to soothe and heal. The switch from "this is a story about dogs and people and the amazing interactions between them" to "this is a story about me and my problems and epiphanies" will give the attentive reader whiplash.