Taking the Bad (Reviews) with the Good

By and large, reviewers have praised “Jem: Lessons in Living.” NetGalley blogger Danny Deshong gave the book five stars, saying:

“A loving but sad tale about a man and his best friend. I loved the little short story at the beginning of each chapter shedding light on the day to day happy moments between Jem and the author. The book is filled with warm moments with other pets as well along the way. Naturally there are sad moments which is inevitable but overall a sweet brief relationship tale amongst two souls.”

But bloggJemDigitalCoverer “Jennifer ReadingWithPugs” had a different view:

“I wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t.”

Of course, no writer expects his work to be universally loved, but Jennifer went even further:

“Although there was some of that in the story it was more about annecdotes [sic] from different scenarios in his life. The stories seemed very disjointed and choppy. Nothing seemed to flow for me and where I was expecting an ending to a story seemed to just stop and then the next story started. Very weird.”

That stung a bit, especially in light of the many positive comments from other reviewers about the structure of the book.

But it was this comment that gave me the most to think about:

“I also had a problem with the author and his seemingly careless treatment of the pets he owned. Carelessly leaving the door open for the dogs to escape, giving up dogs that are a lot of work… I understand that accidents happen, but it seemed he had more than his share.”

I’m not just a pet owner, I’m a pet lover. Have been all my life. But I’m also human, and in writing “Jem” I resolved to tell the whole story—both the good and the bad.

I hope you’ll read “Jem: Lessons in Living”, and if you do, I would welcome your own honest comments, here on my website, or at Amazon or Goodreads.

Happy Tails!

One comment

  1. kenny wood

    ”Jem: Lessons in Living” arrived yesterday. I had waited every day for it, intuitively knowing there were some things in it that I needed now as I ride my never-ending roller coaster.

    I couldn’t put the book down. It is thoroughly human with splashes of grace, and heart-to-heart. The stories are visual, palpable, funny, sad, and holy (God Incognito).

    What did I need ? A touch of unfiltered humanness, and guttural grace. Those gifts found me in the unfolding of the stories.

    I grew up without pets. My parents didn’t appreciate even the possibility of messes. And disliked surprises. Our lives smelled of Pine-Sol.

    Last night, lying in my bed, I found pets–Bruno, Wendy, Coco, Sammy, Scout, and Jem–and a family helping me accept messes as graphic design; and my life, then and now, circled in love.

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