eARC Review – One Hundred Dogs & Counting

Title: One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and A Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

Publisher: Pegasus Books

Publication date: July 7th, 2020

304 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

After nearly a year struggling to find a home for a particular foster dog, Cara begins to wonder how the story ends—when will all the dogs be saved? Even after the one-hundredth foster dog passes through Cara’s home, the stream of homeless dogs appears endless.  Seized by the need to act, Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate.

What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world. 

From North Carolina where pit bulls fill the shelters and heart-worm rages to Tennessee where dogs are left forgotten in pounds and on to Alabama where unlikely heroes fight in a state that has largely forsaken its responsibilities to its animals, Cara meets the people working on the front lines in this national crisis of unwanted animals. The dogs, the people and their inspiring stories draw her south again and again in search of answers and maybe a dog of her own.

One Hundred Dogs and Counting will introduce the reader to many wonderful dogs—from sweet Oreo to quirky Flannery—but also to inspirational people sacrificing personal lives and fortunes to save deserving animals.

Join Cara on the rescue road as she follows her heart into the places where too many dogs are forgotten and discovers glimmers of hope that the day is coming when every dog will have a home.

Review

Thank you to Cara Sue Achterberg for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

100 Dogs & Counting is a narrative of one woman’s experiences with fostering over 100 dogs in her county of PA – and going on an emotional journey of the South’s animal shelters and “dog pounds” to learn more about the challenges affecting animal shelters striving to be “no kill”. In an emotional tale, Cara meets with many administrators in the South working to educate the public, save animals, and change attitudes towards pets. Most animal shelter workers spend their own money, time, and resources to help these animals in these underfunded counties.

Okay, I did not go into this book expecting it to be as emotional as it was. I was expecting an interesting memoir about Cara’s fostering journey – and enjoying some lighthearted stories about my favorite, furry animals. Now, that is the first part of the book – you learn about Gala and other dogs that Cara pours her heart and soul into (to the chagrin of her husband, Nick). But the second half of the book really shows Cara’s journey into the South and the eye opening experiences.

Y’all it is terribly sad the conditions animals are living under. This book made me so angry on behalf of the dogs and cats living in those situations – it is something that I’ve never really thought about or heard about before, and it is just awful. It was heartwarming to hear that even under those conditions, there are people working tirelessly to save as many animals as possible.

For an educational book, it didn’t read like non-fiction books can. It was interesting and kept me turning to page to learn more. The writing style is less a structured story, and more of a time lapse – if that makes sense. Basically it seems like a summary of a few months of her life, used to really portray the issues and her work to assist in the ways she can. Also, she talks about her own experiences and how even fostering over 100 dogs – it is really just a drop in the bucket.

This book made me want to foster dogs IMMEDIATELY. If I lived in more than a shoebox sized town house with my fiance and personal dog, I definitely would be. I’ve already told the fiance that we will be fostering once we buy our own house and have enough space.

Please read if you love dogs and animals!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Idiot

“My new mantra was trust God, clean house, help others.” 

Title: Idiot

Author: Laura Clery

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: September 24th, 2019

256 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

From YouTube star and Facebook Video sensation Laura Clery comes a collection of comedic essays in the vein of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby and You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein.

Laura Clery makes a living by sharing inappropriate comedy sketches with millions of strangers on the Internet. She writes songs about her anatomy, talks trash about her one-eyed rescue pug, and sexually harasses her husband, Stephen. And it pays the bills!

Now, in her first-ever book, Laura recounts how she went from being a dangerously impulsive, broke, unemployable, suicidal, cocaine-addicted narcissist, crippled by fear and hopping from one toxic romance to the next…to a more-happy-than-not, somewhat rational, meditating, vegan yogi with good credit, a great marriage, a fantastic career, and four unfortunate-looking rescue animals. Still, above all, Laura remains an amazingly talented, adorable, and vulnerable, self-described…Idiot.

With her signature brand of offbeat, no-holds-barred humor, Idiot introduces you to a wildly original—and undeniably relatable—new voice.

Review

Brave. I didn’t feel brave at all. I felt scared out of my mind. But I suppose bravery is not being unafraid, it’s being shit-your-pants-scared-out-of-your-mind and doing the damn thing anyway.

laura clery, idiot

So, I recently started watching Laura’s videos on YouTube and I find her and Stephen to be so funny and witty. One specific video told the story of how she met Stephen and she re-enacted it. At that point, I realized she was sober and and addict, and so was Stephen. At the end of the video, she never even finished the story but instead said to go read the book. So I did! Kudos to Laura for that level of advertisement.

I don’t often read memoirs, so when I do I need them to be interesting enough to hold my attention and well written enough to make it worth it. And folks? Idiot brought both of those things. Laura’s stories were well written, easy to understand, and a breeze to read through. Her writing is very straightforward and no nonsense, albeit the events she is writing about are shocking and scary at times. Her story and path to recovery is harrowing and terrifying, but also sadly common. She speaks often of her support system to get her to her relationship with Stephen, and even the ups and downs of that relationship as they both relapse and put each other through hell.

I wasn’t sure how well Laura’s on screen persona and humor would translate into written words, but it WORKED. I wouldn’t say it was laugh out loud funny, but more of just humorous enough to keep the storyline going. The humor of Laura’s story is more a dark and twisty humor, where you nervously laugh at something decidedly not funny that is told in a funny way – if that makes sense.

I respect the hell out of Laura for putting her past and present on blast like this. It can’t be easy to write down all your demons and past terrible decisions for the world to see. It’s not something I would be able to do myself, and it was an honor to read about Laura’s life.

If you enjoy memoirs, I highly suggest picking this up. TW for addiction, drug/alcohol abuse/possible sexual assault.

Happy reading, folks!