Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: 'The Thing Is' by Kathleen Gerard

Kathleen Gerard is a writer whose work has been awarded The Perillo Prize, The Eric Hoffer Prose Award and nominated for Best New American Voices and Short Story America, all national prizes in literature. Kathleen writes across genres. Her short prose and poetry have been widely published in magazines, journals and anthologies and have been awarded and nominated for many prizes including The Saturday Evening Post "Great American Fiction" Prize, The Mark Twain House Humor Prize and the Faulkner-Wisdom Prize. Her essays have been broadcast on National Public Radio. Kathleen writes for Shelf Awareness and maintains the blog, "Reading Between the Lines."

Ardent animal enthusiasts will relate to this beautiful story immediately. It is rare to have a story of such emotional impact be delivered from the eyes and mind and persona of an animal – but then every animal (read ‘dog’) isn’t Prozac. What Kathleen accomplishes in this sterling novel is a story that brings very happy tears to those to whom pets are family – and for those who are without that good fortune, finish the book and dial the shelter to shop!

Very briefly, the synopsis relates the essence of the story: ‘Ever since the death of her fiancĂ©, Meredith Mancuso has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac. Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week. Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.’

Eloquent but always in keeping with credible interaction between Prozac and his environs and cast, THE THING IS shines. If ever you need some time alone to cope with those extremes of life that test our courage, just read this fine book. Grady Harp, June 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.