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This past week I read A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas.

Unlike of much of what I've read, Three Dog Life is a memoir and completely non-fiction. There are no exaggerations, no artistic licenses.

Thomas' husband Rich is struck by a car while walking the family dog, Harry, in downtown New York City. As a result of the accident, Rich suffers a traumatic brain injury that causes him to lose his short term memory. In the aftermath of the accident, Thomas struggles to rebuild her life and adjust to her new "normal", moving out of New York City and adopting two more dogs in the process.

This is a story that easily could have taken a whiny, tragic tone. And Thomas would have every right to ask us to pity her, to make us feel sorry for her.

But she doesn't. Instead, the book feels joyous, a celebration of the wonders of life and the resiliency that resides in every one of us.

The story could have easily focused on Rich instead. But it didn't do that either. And to be honest, I am glad it didn't. The market is already quite saturated with stories of tragedy that center entirely on the actual victim. And yes each one is moving in its own way, but sometimes it's refreshing to read a little something different.

Thomas is inspiring without trying to be inspiring. Perhaps its her brutal honesty: she admits her struggles and faults in a way that makes her more endearing without her trying to be endearing. There's nothing worse than a memoir that tries to endear the reader to it. Better instead to tell your story honestly and let the reader chose to be endeared or not. That's not to say it should be a cold recitation of facts without ay emotion. It's ultimately a thin line to walk between the two extremes but Thomas hit the nail on the head with this book.

If you're struggling with anything, or if you've ever struggled with anything, read this book.

"It's simpler than what humans go through. 'Your voice sounds funny, are you mad at me?' a young woman speaks anxiously, cell phone pressed to her ear, and I wonder how people ever manage to hook up. Dogs are never in a bad mood over something you said at breakfast. Dogs never sniff at the husks of old conversations, or conduct autopsies on weekends gone wrong. An unexamined life may not be worth living, but the overexamined life is hell. We talk too much."
-From A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas.

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