Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening

David W. Berner. Roundfire, $13.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-7890-4498-0
Novelist and memoirist Berner (A Well-Respected Man) reflects on life, love, dogs, and other topics in these charming essays. On sabbatical and facing the realities of aging, Berner embarks on a close-to-home “pilgrimage” along suburban sidewalks with his goldendoodle Sam to better get to know both the dog and himself. Each essay is full of sharp observations of the neighborhood and the human-canine dynamic: Berner muses on a “crazy” neighbor whose yard is decorated with “a baby carriage, an axe, an inflatable whale”; handprints in the sidewalk (“we all want people to recognize we spent time on this Earth”); the hygiene of dogs and humans before one of Sam’s grooming appointment; and getting angry when Sam is uncooperative. By the end of his season of exploration, Berner comes to realize: “This is what I do. I see. I hear. I am.... I love my wife, I cherish my sons, I adore my dog.” It isn’t profound, but Berner’s plainspoken manner reveals moments of true enlightenment. Dog lovers and spiritualists will adore this. Agent: Beccy Conway, John Hunt. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/29/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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