cover image Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs

Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs

Jennifer Finney Boylan. Celadon, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-26187-8

“Everything I know about love I learned from dogs,” writes New York Times columnist Boylan in this eloquent memoir. Expanding on her 2003 account of life as a transgender woman, She’s Not There, Boylan examines her transition through seven dogs who were there for her at pivotal points. The “magic of dogs,” Boylan writes, is not that they love their owners unconditionally, but that their owners have an unconditional love for them, an ideal that can be harder to realize with fellow human beings. Each of the animals profiled here—including Penny, the aloof dalmatian and childhood pet Boylan outgrew; Matt, the obnoxious mutt whom a vet suggested they feminize via hormone injections; and Lucy, the “medium-sized yellow dog with a purple tongue” who never quite got over leaving her first home, a hog farm—allows Boylan to explore different areas of relationships with others, and with oneself. She touches on, among other subjects, self-doubt, confusion about her sexuality, emotional distance, and infidelity. Boylan also shares encouragement and guidance for those facing their own emotional struggles, noting that while hers weren’t easy to overcome, self-acceptance awaited her at her journey’s end. Filled with insight and remarkable candor, this is a sterling tribute to the love of dogs. Agent: Kris Dahl, ICM. (Apr.)