Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dog book review: Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean

Liam the pug with his Susan Orlean book
Liam doesn't seem to find the book very engrossing, but I sure did!
Do you have plans for tonight? If not, head to the Hollywood Theater at 7pm for a night of canine fun. Susan Orlean will be reading from her new book about Rin Tin Tin, and then the theater will screen a Rin Tin Tin movie. I'll be there, and I am very excited. 

A full disclosure statement: I am an avid fan of Susan Orlean. Her tightly packed sentences and unexpected humor make her New Yorker articles a thrill to read. I had never thought of her as a dog lover, however. She wrote about people with great skill, but I don't recall seeing any articles that dealt with furry creatures of any sort. I approached her book with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Can someone who doesn't really LOVE dogs write a great book about dogs?

The answer, in my mind, is a qualified "Yes."

Orlean has done her research about dog breeding, dog personality types and dog training. People who are interested in the GSD breed will learn a lot through this book. But Orlean is, in the end, more concerned with teasing out the human/dog relationship and determining what it means to love a dog and build your life around a dog.

Most of us who have dogs tend to take this relationship for granted, and it can be a bit startling to hear her discuss how dog ownership tended to isolate some of Rin Tin Tin's handlers throughout the years. But, perhaps, her outsider's perspective gives her a view dog lovers simply can't see.

I'm eager to hear her speak, however, and I am doubly thrilled to have the chance to watch the movie. Now that I've read up on Rin Tin Tin, I'd like to see him in action! It sounds like tickets to the event are still available. Click here for more information.