A Three Dog Life

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When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institu­tion. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. This wise, plainspoken, beautiful book enacts the truth Abigail discovered in the five years since the acci­dent: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.
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About the author

ABIGAIL THOMAS is the author of Safekeeping, a memoir, as well as a novel and two story collections. She lives in Woodstock, New York, and teaches at the New School.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Feb 1, 2007
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9780156033060
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Body, Mind & Spirit / Healing / General
Body, Mind & Spirit / Inspiration & Personal Growth
Pets / Dogs / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The New York Times bestseller from the beloved author of A Three Dog Life—an exhilarating, superbly written memoir on friendship, family, creativity, tragedy, and the richness of life: “If you only read one book this year, make it this one” (Ann Patchett).

In her bestselling memoir A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas wrote about the devastating loss of her husband. In What Comes Next and How to Like It, “a keenly observed memoir…Thomas writes of the changes aging brings us all and of coping through love: of family, dogs, a well-turned phrase. She is superb company” (People).

Thomas was startled to overhear herself described as “a nice old lady with a tattoo,” because she thinks of herself as not nice, not old, nor a lady. But she has wondered: what comes next? What comes after the death of a spouse? What form does a lifelong friendship take after deepest betrayal? How does a mother cope with her child’s dire illness? Or the death of a cherished dog?

And how to like it? How to accept, appreciate, enjoy? How to find solace and pleasure? How to sustain and be sustained by our most trusted, valuable companions? At its heart, What Comes Next and How to Like It is about the complicated friendship between Thomas and a man she met thirty-five years ago—a rich bond that has lasted through marriages, child-raising, and the vicissitudes and tragedies of life. “After all,” she writes, “there are those people we love, and then there are those we recognize. These are the unbreakable connections.”

Exquisitely observed, lush with sentences you will read over and over again, What Comes Next and How to Like It “is a beautifully felt, deeply moving memoir, the best work yet by a woman who has already done some of the best work in the field. Abigail Thomas is the Emily Dickinson of memoirists, and so much of this book’s wisdom is between the lines and in the white spaces. It may only take you two days to read, but the impact will stay with you for a long, long time” (Stephen King). This is a glorious guide to living imperfectly and exuberantly.
At the age of 36, Caroline Knapp, author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world.  She had faced the loss of both her parents, given up a twenty-year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, "I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, in the face of such daunting vulnerability?"  An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog.  Eighteen months to the day after she quit drinking, Knapp stumbled upon an eight-week-old puppy at a local animal shelter, took her home, and named her Lucille.  Now two years old, Lucille has become a central force in Knapp's life: "In her," she writes,  "I have found solace, joy, a bridge to the world."

Caroline Knapp has been celebrated as much for her fresh insight into emotional and psychological issues as she has been for her gifts as a writer.  In Pack of Two, she brings the same perception and talent to bear on the rich, complicated terrain of human-animal relationships.  In addition to mining her own experience with Lucille, Knapp speaks to a wide variety of dog people--from animal behaviorists and psychologists to other owners whose dogs have deeply affected their lives--about this emotionally complex, sometimes daunting, often profoundly healing alliance.  Throughout, she explores the shift in canine roles from working partners to intimate companions and looks, too, at how this new kinship, this wordless bond, becomes a template for what we most desire ourselves.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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