◊ Why I admire this book. The story could have very easily been overly sentimental and sappy, given the premise: a dog, on the eve of his death, recounts his life with his human family, and the lessons they collectively learn from the trials and triumphs that life throws in their way. But Stein expertly balances the story, so that it doesn’t come off as too heavy on the feelings. I don’t know how Stein did it. But I’ll let you know when I find out. Yes, I sometimes re-read a book just to gain further insight into an author’s technique. Is that sneaky of me?
◊ Why I luff this book. Enzo. Enzo. Enzo. A thousand times, Enzo. Enzo is the reason why I nearly cried when I finished this book (and I don’t normally cry over books), why I couldn’t concentrate at work that morning because I was so emotionally wrapped up in what happened in the last two chapters, why I strongly recommend this book to all my dog-loving friends. Enzo is the book’s canine narrator; the intelligent, big-hearted, witty, and oh-so-heartbreakingly loyal dog whose steady yet colorful narration made me laugh, clutch at my heart, and smile tearfully, sometimes at the same time. The dog whose bond with Denny, his master, is the linchpin of the story. The dog who loves Denny unconditionally (and vice versa). Whose initial grudge against Eve, Denny’s wife, is totally understandable. Whose every hurt was felt personally by moi. Whose thoughts respecting reincarnation were nodded at and fervently believed in, even though in reality I don’t believe in the notion. The dog whom I would love to meet, if meeting fictional characters were possible.