A couple of months ago, I received an email from a book publisher asking if I was interested reading and then reviewing a book on the fleas blog. I periodically get such emails and usually don’t even reply to these types of inquires for a couple of reasons: 1. I’m not really what you’d call a book worm. I can honestly say I haven’t actually sat down and read a book for 15 years (not bragging here). I’m just more of a magazine guy. 2. I’m scared that I’ll get either bombarded with emails from some stranger trying to sell me a book, or worse, it’s some sort of scam. But on this occasion, something in me said OK (maybe it was because it was a book about a cocker spaniel). So I replied with a Yes and forgot about it.
A few weeks passed and I came home from work and found a little brown package in the mailbox. I excitedly opened the package to see what was waiting for me inside and there was the book I agreed to read – Katie Up and Down the Hall by Glenn Plaskin. I thumbed through it and was happy to see there were pictures to help me along the way. I told you I’m not a book worm! That night I sat down and started reading and was pleased to find that not only were there pictures, but the chapters were pretty short too.
In the first few chapters, we meet Glenn Plaskin and learn that he’s a single guy working and living in New York City as a celebrity interviewer for the New York Times. We meet Katie (named after Katharine Hepburn who happens to be a friend of Mr. Plaskin) his beloved companion for over 15 years, as he picks her up from a breeder as a pup. In the remaining chapters, we learn how a beautiful little blonde cocker spaniel brought five strangers living on the same hall in an apartment building in NYC and “herded” them into a family. These neighbors struggle with job loss, single parenting, 9/11, and even death. But don’t worry, there are happy times too like birthday celebrations and games of racing up and down the hall.
I’m not going to give you a book report and tell you what happens in the end because that would be cheating, but I will tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t a collection of stories of how cute Katie is and how she did this funny thing at this inappropriate time. It is WAY better than that.
This being my first book review, I’m going to say I’m thrilled that I was chosen to read it and oh so happy that I responded to that email. If you are a book reader (or not I guess ’cause I read it!), or if you happen to be looking for a really great Christmas gift to get for a member of your family, this is the one. You won’t be disappointed.