Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for a good dog story. I just love ’em, even though, I know the dogs usually die and then I get all sad and weepy. So I was really, really looking forward to reading Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog & the Woman She Rescued. The back of the book hooked me (just one line from its description: “Despite the blindness of her dog — and her own heart — Laurie uncovered what she really needed most: authentic love, unconditional trust, and true acceptance, faults and all).” It sounds great, it really does, but this book was seriously lacking in everything.
To be honest, there was really nothing about this book that I liked that much, except for maybe the pictures of the dog, Mia, who really is a pretty dog. And at its core, I liked the story, but there were so many problems with how the story was told that I couldn’t focus on Laurie and Mia’s journey. As I used to tell the kids who I tutored in college, what you’re saying is getting lost in how you’re saying it.
First of all, it’s just an awkward, awkward set up. The basis of hearing Laurie’s story of pain and heartache is done via Kim, and then what Laurie learns is told through Laurie’s conversations with Kim. The biggest problem I have with this is the way these conversations start. They are so forced and strange that it’s so hard to believe that anyone would ever speak like this in real life. It’s clear that the author has an agenda and a story to tell, and she hasn’t mastered the art of easing into the story skillfully. For instance, here’s one such example:
“… As silly as this sign is, it really does encourage me to make big girl choices over the decisions I face while sitting at my desk.”
“Ah, speaking of choices,” Laurie said, “boy, has my little dog been showing me the true impact of the choices we make in life.”
That’s it. Awful transition, unrealistic dialogue, poor writing. But it happens all the time throughout the book. Here’s another example:
“No, I’m not talking about your clothes, I’m talking about you. You look happy, and you seem content.”
“Maybe it’s because I’m learning how to be. Mia keeps teaching me one life lesson after another. My dog has not only become one of my most cherished friends and companions, she’s also a mentor to me.”
Just in case you’re not convinced, here’s one more:
“Wow, this place we get to live in, it’s really something extraordinary.”
“Hey, Mama K? You know what else is extraordinary? Mia lives her life in a way that proclaims the grass isn’t greener on the other side — it’s greener where you water it!”
I’m interested in hearing Laurie and Mia’s stories, but told through Kim, they come across as weird and bulky. But even more than that, I feel like we never get to know Laurie, which is incredibly important to this book because it’s Mia who rescues Laurie — how can we, as readers, see that happen when we never really know what Laurie has struggled with? It’s hard to share difficulties in our lives, but when you’re writing a book that’s based around someone or something saving you, you need to share what you’re being saved from. The best we get are vague descriptions such as “Her desperation to fill [the need to feel valued and loved] was matched only by her vain attempts to satisfy them. Slowly, her resistance to stand against self-destructive habits saved in under the weight of their promised consolations… Laurie gradually relinquished her moral code.” Okay, I have a pretty active imagination, and can make some pretty educated guesses as to what Laurie went through, but I still think in this kind of book, the reader deserves to know what happened to Laurie.
It’s just so painful to read over and over and over again. It’s very formulaic, too — it typically happens at the beginning of each chapter. I wish I could recommend this book, but I unfortunately cannot.
Rating: 1/10 (because I thought the dog was cute)
(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was asked to review this book fairly based on my own opinions and not asked to make a positive review in return for receiving the book, just an honest one.)