Review: Dog Only Knows, by Barrie MacFarlane

Dog Only Knows

Dog Only Knows, by Barrie MacFarlane (Createspace, 2011)

The subtitle of this slim book is “How to Find Love, Hope and Happiness in an Uncertain World.” The story is written in an endearing voice, from an elderly Labrador Retriever’s perspective as he looks back on life with—and lessons learned from—humans.

Marley the dog (named after reggae singer Bob Marley and with no relation to the Marley and Me movie) was born in Ohio, moved to Los Angeles, then immigrated to Atlantic Canada. I like what he says in one of the early chapters:

There is a reason and a purpose for all life… your life has a purpose, although it may take a search to find it… You don’t have to search frantically. It’s intended to be an adventure. (p. 6)

As he tells highlights from his life story, he shares what he’s learned about common subjects: fear, loyalty, trust, forgiveness, grief, change, attitude, love etc.

Dog Only Knows is a life-affirming book for the general market. Short chapters open with pithy quotes, and they often have a gentle, encouraging message. As one might expect, there are plenty of funny pet shenanigans.

At times Marley speaks directly to young reader, but it’s also a pleasant read for adults. It would make a good family read-aloud story. In places the language can be complex, and an adult reader could make any explanations if needed.

This is the first book I’ve read produced through Amazon’s Createspace, and the only issues I see are about copy-editing. It’s printed on sturdy, cream-coloured paper that’s easy on the eyes. (I’m not a fan of the bright white often used in print on demand.)

There’s a real Marley, and the book is based on his escapades. We can credit his human friend Barrie MacFarlane with providing the thoughts and commentary.

Barrie MacFarlane is a Canadian author who has a strong appreciation for the way animals lift the human spirit. Dog Only Knows is his first book, and you can find it on Amazon: Canada and USA.

 [Review copy provided by the author.]

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