Monday, August 4, 2014

Surviving Henry by Erin Taylor Young

Henry is a pure bread boxer with more energy than should be legal for a dog to have.

Erin tells us his story, his puppy stage, obedience school (again and again), the choke collar (ineffective), the pinch collar (not much better), finally a shock collar. We journey with him to the water, a dog that cannot swim (buy a doggy life jacket). We take part in his antics on the bass boat, when Erin forgot to take life jacket along. We are right along with Erin when she tries to take Henry for a run, she riding her bike (head over heels crash). We hear the clanging of the weights as she uses them to get Henry's attention and try to control his behavior. We feel for him when he crashes through the picture window.

My dog is bipolar,” Erin writes. She described his “random bursts of hazardous intelligence.” He is a dog-anomaly, she says. “...[S]itting still has always been one of Henry's disabilities.”

There are some funny times in the book but I would not call it a laugh out loud type of narrative. Some of the events I didn't feel were humorous at all, such as the Girl Scouts selling cookies incident. Henry snapped at Erin as she tried to control him and the flesh on her hand was torn. Also, the author reads a great deal of human emotion into Henry's antics. That seemed too forced to me and I just did not find it humorous.

Erin says at the end of the book that Henry taught her many lessons. One was that obedience comes after pain. Another is that discipline is messy. As she contemplated her refusal to get rid of Henry, she realized her love for him was a lesson in God's unconditional love for us.

Visit to learn more about the author, read an excerpt, and watch videos of Henry's crazy antics.

Erin Taylor Young is a humor writer who gets to work in a library. She has written for several magazines. In 2013, she received a Higher Goals Award from the Evangelical Press Association. She was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis contest for her contemporary fiction. She lives in Oklahoma with her well-meaning husband, two polar-opposite sons, and a noncompliant dog. Find out more at

Revell, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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