The New York Times review of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson’s The Puppy Diaries is in. They got the guy who wrote Marley & Me to do it, and he loved the “worthy addition to the crowded so-called dogoir genre.” Amazing.
True to her reporter roots, Ms. Abramson absorbs everything she can find on dog training and interviews numerous experts (all of whom, not surprisingly, return her calls). Despite this, “The Puppy Diaries” is not a how-to book. It is amply researched and written with informed confidence, but the advice offered is strictly cursory.
“All of whom, not surprisingly, return her calls.”
Ms. Abramson writes with intelligence and grace and never descends into the saccharine, steering clear of sappy land mines even as she celebrates the simple joys a dog can bring. 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.
Just to debunk that bolded part quickly, an excerpt from the book itself:
The soulful brown eyes that greeted me had dark lashes that gave Scout a sultry, flirtatious look; she was a canine version of Veronica Lake, down to her blond, silky fur. Although dogs supposedly don’t like to be stared at, Scout looked deeply into my reddened, sleep-deprived eyes as if searching for clues. Who was this person? What were all these new smells?
Remember when Bill Keller’s wife also got a glowing write-up in the Times’ Book Review? It’s kind of a thing over there!
Update 4:14 p.m.: Unbelievably, there is a second review in the Times for Jill Abramson’s God Damn Puppy Book. This one’s in the Book Review and it’s by Alexandra Styron. Guess what? She liked it too.
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.