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Distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought himself a dog lover when, well into middle age, he came into possession of a German shepherd named Tulip. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the “ideal friend” he had been seeking in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their 16-year companionship, as well as a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes and of his own fumbling but determined efforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.
My Dog Tulip has been adapted to screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. It has been heralded as “a stroke of genius” by New York Magazine and “the love story of the year” by Vanity Fair.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I had heard that this was an excellent dog book, written by a man who loved his dog. I'm not sorry that I read it to satisfy my curiosity. However, I wouldn't recommend it and I certainly won't listen to it again. Ackerley seemed completely fixated on Tulip's elimination and reproductive functions. I know those things are part of owning a dog and can be amusing. They were quite funny in this book the first several times he described them. However, there are many other things that go into a person's relationship with their dog, and the book barely addressed them. Ackerley clearly loved Tulip, but I found myself shouting,
What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?
Ralph Cosham convincingly spoke in Ackerley's voice. I probably wouldn't have finished the book in print form. The narration improved the experience.
Could you see My Dog Tulip being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
My Dog Tulip was made into an animated movie. I watched it before reading the book and thought they did an excellent job. It was actually more entertaining than the book. I had hoped for more depth from the book, but unfortunately I got only more vivid descriptions of Tulip's bladder and bowel issues along with her sexual frustration.
Any additional comments?
Save your time and watch the movie.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
As a dog lover and trainer, this was a pleasant listen. It did not hold up to "The Art of Racing in the Rain" or "A Dog Named Christmas" for overall excellence of writing or involvement in the story or the life of the dog. But it did a very nice job of portraying a man and his dog, and the relationship between the 2 species. I will listen to it again.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I love dogs and dog stories and have listened to many. This one was not one of the more emotionally compelling ones, but the writing was good (although a bit challenging to get used to) and I learned a lot of "dog stuff" I didn't know. The owner's love for his dog is clearly and touchingly described. Worth a listen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you have a dog of your own, then you already know this story. His dog is special, unique, responds best to the author. His dog has issues that the owner finds endearing, yet others abhor. Nice read, nice story, but nothing new or nothing revealing here. If you want to read about someone else's dog ownership experience, it may be a good book, But you might be better served to just go out and get your own dog! This book is nothing special!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I loved this book. I laughed out loud about every few minutes all the way through it. I love the Englishman's discription of the world and it's dogs! If you need a good laugh do buy this book!!!!!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Written in the mid-1950s, this beautifully realized little book documents in strangely absorbing detail the perils of living in a small London apartment with a high-strung female German shepherd who comes into heat three times a year and, in her one experience as a mother, delivers eight rambunctious pups. The author, a distinguished British editor in his day, trains his writerly skills on his dog Tulip's posterior, charting exactly what happens there when she goes into heat and delving into the mechanics of sex with one of her many beleagured suitors. Unlike any dog memoir I've read, it's both a love story and a treatise on the sacrifices and pleasures experienced by both dog owners and their pets.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I would recommend this for someone who is a true dog lover. The author is a little weird in his obsession with having his dog Tulip mated.
What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
The proper British accent and attitude.
Do you think My Dog Tulip needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
No, we know enough about Tulip.
What would have made My Dog Tulip better?
There were a few amusing and/or heartfelt moments in this book, but the emphasis on scatalogical detail was gross. There is only so much I wish to hear about a dog's gastrointestinal and reproductive systems. Whole chapters are devoted to these matters in My Dog Tulip.
Has My Dog Tulip turned you off from other books in this genre?
Not necessarily. I love animal stories, man/woman's best friend etc.
Would you be willing to try another one of Ralph Cosham???s performances?
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment. And, I was very surprised that it had been rated so highly by other listeners. Audible listener reviews are usually a very reliable guide ofr me.
Any additional comments?
I didn't even make it half way through this story, which is very unusual for me. I've listened to hundreds of books over the past 6 or 7 years, and there have only been two or three that I've abandoned without finishing.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
The first half of the story was very touching but there came a point at which he could not stop referring in reverential language about his dog's beautiful vulva, etc. Very creepy!!!!!
0 of 1 people found this review helpful