Mark Levin’s best-selling book Rescuing Sprite seems to have spurred a trend of dog-owner books from powerful political journalists. Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, has a new book titled The Puppy Diaries. In Friday’s paper, they published a book review from John Grogan, author of the best-selling book Marley & Me.
Naturally, the reviewer can be expected to be nice. Grogan declared “Some readers will be looking for evidence to brand her elitist, but Ms. Abramson’s voice is bighearted and surprisingly down to earth as she and her husband forge a stronger bond with Scout at their side.” Somehow, Grogan doesn’t find anything a little elitist in cooking gourmet meals for the pooch:
She is such a pushover that as she and her husband, Henry, drive to meet their new dog, he summarily demotes Ms. Abramson, “replacing me as pack leader because I am neither calm nor assertive.” The author confesses that her husband’s assessment was “harsh but fair,” considering how horribly she had spoiled her first dog, a West Highland terrier named Buddy, cooking him gourmet meals of rosemary-dusted chicken and wild Alaskan sockeye salmon and forgiving him for all sorts of doggie infractions.
Times readers who are not head-over-heels for dogs might wonder about how some dog owners haven't figured out how talking about your dog's sexiness is a bit strange:
“Besides looking for any excuse to inhale that irresistible puppy smell, I felt a reflexive urge to cover the top of Scout’s soft head with kisses,” she writes. Ms. Abramson makes up “lullabies with silly lyrics” to coax Scout to sleep. She marvels at Scout’s “sultry, flirtatious look” and compares her to “a canine version of Veronica Lake, down to her blond, silky fur.”
Ms. Abramson is beyond smitten. No wonder she has a hard time saying no.
Of course, there's also a Sunday Times book review -- surprise, another rave review! -- in case anyone missed the Friday one. "Sentimental notions and flights of extreme anthropomorphism abound," writes Alexandra Styron. The Victoria Lake passage comes to mind. "But Abramson seems confident of her congenial audience." This is the dust-cover paragraph:
In “The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout,” Jill Abramson, a prizewinning investigative reporter and now executive editor of The New York Times, has vanquished the writer’s self-regarding pose. She plunges into the subject of her dog’s first year and comes up with a golden retriever of a memoir. Unaffected, unironic and lovingly goofy, “The Puppy Diaries” is not for the reader who sees life with a dog as a Booth cartoon. But it should hit the wide, heart-shaped mark cultivated by dog fanciers everywhere unafraid to be heard singing lullabies to the furriest members of the family.
Somehow, as Styron talks of previous books about "Charley and Marley and Merle before him," there's no mention of Sprite.