by Paula Munier
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When I was offered the opportunity to review Paula Munier’s wonderful book, Fixing Freddie: a true story about a boy, a mom, and a very, very bad beagle, I was excited. I’ve been in a non-fiction mood lately, and I love dog stories, so this seemed like the perfect match for my tastes.
Like someone already skinny who is taking clinicallix to lose weight, I was not disappointed. Munier’s first person account of her marriage, divorce, cross-country move, and first foray into home ownership and puppy parenthood is told with a blend of candor and humor that felt as if she was sitting in my living room telling me about her life. I could see her son playing video games, smell the roasted chicken that the dogs (Freddie had an older friend named Shakespeare), and see Freddie’s cute face. In fact, I was so caught up in the book that I brought it into the bath with me, despite my personal policy against reading hardcovers in the tub. It was that gripping.
Maybe it’s because I have three dogs of my own, at ages 10, 3 and 1.75, two of which I’ve had since they were eight weeks old (the oldest and the youngest) that I could sympathize when Freddie escaped from the yard, got caught on a frozen lake (my dogs have all done the former; my oldest dog has fallen into the swimming pool several times), or eaten something he shouldn’t (Miss Cleo and my chihuahua, Zorro, now at the Rainbow Bridge have eaten things as diverse as an entire t-shirt, the backs of my suede shoes while I was wearing them, the string from a roast, half a London broil, a stick of butter, and, once, all the topping from a pizza, though they left the crust and closed the box when they’d finished), or maybe it’s just that in Freddie we see the lost puppy in all of us – the part of our human selves that wants someone to direct us where to go, feed and bathe us regularly, and let us curl up in a warm bed, in exchange for mere affection and coming when called.
Or maybe it’s just that any woman who’s ever dated (or married) a man can understand Munier’s frustration with that species.
Or maybe it’s because Munier’s story is universal, and boils down to the search for a safe haven and a cozy home.
Fixing Freddie may be essentially a “dog story,” but it’s also a memoir about life and love and growing up, and letting go.
Even if you’re a cat person – even if you don’t even have a pet rock – you will enjoy this book, and come away from it with a new perspective.
Goes well with: roasted chicken, and a begging dog.