In Pack of Two, the author of the acclaimed best seller Drinking: A Love Story tackles a different sort of relationship. Two-time Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby) guides us into the life of Caroline Knapp who, after losing both parents to cancer and breaking off a two-decade long relationship with alcohol in the span of one year, struggles - and succeeds - to redefine her world.
The unlikely solution to Knapp’s task was found in the form of a dog named Lucille. After 18 months of sobriety, she brought home an eight-week old puppy from a local animal shelter, a puppy that became a central force in her life. Knapp brings her fresh insight into emotional and psychological issues to the complicated terrain of human-animal relationships. Along with mining her own experience with Lucille, Knapp speaks to a variety of dog people - from owners to professionals - about this profoundly healing alliance.
Pack of Two is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star had a hand in selecting. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.
©1998 Caroline Knapp (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I thought that this would be just a memoir about the author and her dog; while that was certainly a lot of the story, I was happily surprised to hear the psychological aspects of the human and dog relationship. Her life is woven in, as well as her fears and emotions about her dog and others. I could relate to her feelings about her dog, particularly her fear of being left alone once the dog was gone. I had (and still have) similar fears about my dog, so I can definitely relate to that. It was especially poignant hearing the author talking about how she knows the dog will go before her, yet knowing that she died at a young age (early 40s). I don't know if the dog actually survivied her or not, but this part struck an emotional chord with me. I also loved the part where she was examining her life and realized that while it may not be what she or others expected, she realizes that the question to as is: "does it feel right for you?" How true! After reading this book, I intend to read her book about her battle with drinking as well as her friend's book about their friendship and her untimely death. Hilary Swank did an outstanding job with the narration. You can tell that she loves dogs, as there were times in the book where you could tell the emotion was coming through.
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
The subtitle is very accurate, it's the story of the bond between a woman and her dog and her investigation into that bond more generally because she is so surprised by the dog's impact on her own life.
Very much a book for people who love dogs and have experienced this bond, I don't think someone who isn't a dog lover would find this as interesting as it is for those of us who have found ourselves gobsmacked in adulthood by the relationships in which we have unexpectedly developed with dogs.
The narration by Hilary Swank is excellent, although she does mis-pronounce a word or two that sort of interrupted the flow of the text for me but only because the reading was so good only that mispronunciation made it clear it was not the author reading the book. Otherwise her reading was so sincere I felt the whole time like the author was talking directly to me about the intensity of her connection to her dog.
Caroline Knapp is an excellent writer and her prose distinguishes this book from the plethora of dog books published each year. Sadly, I believe she died soon after this book was published.
Highly recommended for dog lovers and people interested in the bonds people develop with animals.
Interesting and charming when she gets out of her own head and focuses on Lucille, the rescue dog who became the center of this very bright writer's hapless universe.
No, too much carolyn...though she can write up a storm, she is blindingly articulate.
She is a quirky and brilliant actor.
Digital Marketing Strategist, writer of political things, lover of charts, dog mom, reluctant suburbanite, Cubs & NE Patriots fan.
Everything, but particularly the chapter on dogs as surrogates for women in lieu of having children.
I can't pick just one thing. It's one of the first non-fiction books I have read in a long while and I was very, very pleased.
This was a fairly short book, and as a devoted dog parent, I found that it went quickly. This audiobook was narrated by Hilary Swank which added a lot to the listening experience. Pack of Two is a very personal account of the author's relationship with her dog, Lucille, and how it enriched and deepened her life. However, it provides both sides of the dog/human bond, including some of the very special benefits as well as darker aspects that, in some unfortunate cases, became pathological.
There were times when I honestly felt sorry for Caroline Knapp because she seemed so needy and isolated. I really love our three dogs and spend a great deal of time working and playing with them, but this author was truly obsessed with Lucille, her only close connection in the world. I was glad she had this wonderful being in her life, a dog she had rescued from probable euthanasia in a shelter, but she seemed so concerned with the possible abnormality of their relationship that I pitied her a little. She gave examples of friends with similar issues, a few of whom were pretty scary. Her own background was quite tragic, involving a lonely childhood, struggles with anorexia, and alcoholism. Her relationship with her dog in her mid-thirties was the first in her life that felt authentic and satisfying.
As a pretty fanatic animal lover myself, I identified with her devotion to her dog, and I enjoyed the book mostly. I only wish her life had been happier in other ways. She died several years after writing this book of lung cancer, and I can't help wondering what happened to Lucille when Caroline was no longer there to care for her. I can only hope a family member or friend has adopted the dog and continued to provide her with the love and devotion she had come to depend upon. We owe our animals that for the many gifts they give us.
Say something about yourself!
Yes! It was entertaining, insightful and thoroughly enjoyable.
Very smooth, easy to listen to, relaxing.
This audio book was a good listen for in-between a Fantasy series I am listening to, but it felt a lot like reading a college paper. This book was a combination of autobiography and research article, with a lot of emotion intertwined. I appreciate the openness and honesty of the author and the people she interviewed. I only gave three stars because I don't feel any different about dogs or dog people after listening to this audio book, and I think all the language the author used could have been boiled down to a really good 2 hr. T.V. special or radio interview.
"Many poignant moments"
I rate Hilary Swank as an actress and thought she read the book empathetically and with appreciation of the profound relationship we can have with a dog. I cannot comment on whether or not the audio edition could be considered to be 'better' than the print version. An odd question really, as I'm unlikely to both read the print version and listen to the audio version of the same book.
One of the most memorable moments in the book for me was the author's explanation relating to the "it's just a dog" comments from non-dog-owneres. In that, just as you cannot truly appreciate the strength of the relationship between parent and child until you become a parent, it is impossible to truly appreciate the same between a person and their dog until you have experienced it for yourself.
I haven't listened to any other books performed by Hilary Swank.
But for the love of a dog. . .
I feel that only dog lovers will enjoy this book and be able to appreciate that the dog 'saved' this lady. She was able to find something profoundly special in her life after a lot of heartache. It is so sad to have learned she has now passed away.
"Look elsewhere for puppy love!"
Brilliantly narrated, profound and humane depiction of the power of the love for, and from, (wo)man's best friend!
"Very VERY Special"
I tend to read a lot of quite shallow romantic novels because I find them relaxing so this book is very different from the norm for me but it was such a special book which will stay with me for a long time. I was extremely shocked to find out having finished the book that the author is sadly deceased. It portrays the relationships between people and dogs wonderfully and it is extremely informative and intriguing. A beautiful book. I think I will reread it in the future. It is extremely easy to read/ listen to. I think anyone who loves dogs will love this book.
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