The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge: A Memoir in Dog Years

Rheta Grimsley Johnson. John F. Blair, $26.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-89587-665-2
Nationally syndicated newspaper columnist Johnson (Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming) recalls her life—friends, spouses, homes, jobs—within the context of her canine partners in crime. With the help of Monster, Mabel, Pogo, Albert, and Barney (designated by the author as the "best dog"), Johnson learns hard lessons about love, loss, grief, and regret. Of loss, she writes: "You would think the death of a spouse or a close friend or a parent would prepare you for anything, including the death of a favorite dog. It does not. It did not. Upon the death of a good dog, all previous losses are compounded." What may appear to be a book about dogs and mortality is actually a memoir of companionship and life. Unlike most other memoirs in the subgenre, Johnson's book often goes on for many pages between mentions of her dogs. However, one always senses they're in the background: napping on the bed, chewing on shoes, or retrieving "gifts" for Johnson to come across unexpectedly. Well-written, thoughtfully composed, and lovingly descriptive, Johnson's humble memoir is a tribute to the dogs who helped to shape her life, made her a better person, and taught her lessons in unconditional love. B&w photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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