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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

An honest and deeply moving debut memoir about a young woman’s battle with depression and how her dog saved her life A New York Times Bestseller “Dog Medicine simply has to be your next must-read.” —Cheryl Strayed At twenty-two, Julie Barton collapsed on her kitchen floor in Manhattan. She was one year out of college and severely depressed. Summoned by Julie’s incoherent phone call, her mother raced from Ohio to New York and took her home. Haunted by troubling childhood memories, Julie continued to sink into suicidal depression. Psychiatrists, therapists, and family tried to intervene, but nothing reached her until the day she decided to do one hopeful thing: adopt a Golden Retriever puppy she named Bunker. Dog Medicinecaptures the anguish of depression, the slow path to recovery, the beauty of forgiveness, and the astonishing ways animals can help heal even the most broken hearts and minds.…

Overall Book Review:

While the picture of the dog on the cover might suggest this is a book for dog-lovers, this is mainly a book about one woman’s journey through depression. In this memoir, the reader comes to know and love the dog, Bunker, because the author loves Bunker, but Bunker doesn’t become a player until halfway through the book.  The first half of the book alternates between the author’s childhood and youth experiences that had an emotional impact on her and possible contributions to her self-image and depression.  Once Bunker enters, the telling is fairly linear.

The author shows courageous honesty in sharing deeply her experience with depression; she seems to hold nothing back.  This book is recommended for those interested in learning a bit about what it feels like to have major depression, those who know someone dealing with this challenge, and those who are themselves living with depression.  Although it is a book about depression, it is ultimately hopeful in tone and that is largely due to the love the author had for her dog and how he helped her.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Penguin

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  19 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 8 derogatory names; 15 scatological words; 12 anatomical terms; 33 F-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Child is violently bullied to the extreme by an older brother; child is threatened with serious injury by older brother; older brother beats up a ten year old sister and threatens to kill her; thoughts of suicide; individual wanted to jump from a moving car, in front of a bus; child witnesses family pet hit by vehicle and killed before her eyes; operations on a pet, with some descriptions of procedures; individual contemplates what could go wrong in surgery on a pet; parent tells about the deaths of his parents (general, age/illness related).

Sex/Nudity:  Someone is called a whore; called a lesbian (intent to insult); individuals embrace and kiss; adult is mentioned to have slept around; adults are mentioned as sleeping together sometimes; individual says she had many orgasms with a particular boyfriend; individual had fantasies about having sex (general in nature, non-descriptive); individual reported naked, running into a room w/ a “skank”; report of having sex; teenage brother tells teenage sister that she was dancing at a party like she wanted to have sex; individuals were “fooling around”, making out, spending time in each other’s bedrooms, etc., but “nothing below waist”; individual has one-night stand sex, scene, no description; individual lays on top of another and kisses her; seventeen-year-old tells parents how she lost virginity (no details).

Mature Subject Matter:

Mental illness, depression, sibling abuse, suicide, euthanizing animals, personal crisis.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults smoke and drink at bars, parties, and keggers.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!