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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Audio Book Review and Giveaway: Katie Up and Down the Hall by Glenn Plaskin

A warm tale of a charming dog and the neighbors she draws into a family.
Katie Up and Down the Hall: The True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors into a Family by Glenn Plaskin

Katie Up and Down the Hall: The True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors into a Family
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; Unabridged edition (September 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609410386
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609410384
Genre:  Memoir
My Rating: 4.25

Product Description:
A personal memoir by bestselling author and celebrity journalist Glenn Plaskin, KATIE is a moving story about a man who discovers the true meaning of family after adopting a cocker spaniel puppy. Through the magnetic personality of his mischievous dog, the author soon makes powerful connections with several of his down-the-hall neighbors in a high-rise located in the unique Battery Park City neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. First, Katie trots into the lives of Pearl and Arthur, a warm-hearted elderly couple just a few doors down from Glenn. Later, John, a single Dad, and his rambunctious young son, Ryan, also move in and are seduced by Katie's charms.

All of their lives are profoundly changed as they are transformed from neighbors to friends to family, with Pearl as matriarch. The motherless boy finds a "Granny"; his Dad inherits a mother, Glenn discovers a confidante. Set in New York City, we witness nearly sixteen years of antics and family adventures spanning Hollywood high times, bad health, accidents, blustery winters, even the terrors of 9/11. Through it all, the family clings to each other, sharing a deep bond that give each comfort, support and security.

Based upon a widely-read article in Family Circle, here is an unforgettable story about the love that makes a family-one that transcends the hard realities of time, tragedy, and inevitable loss.
Review: This isn’t just a dog story but it is really a people story filled with sharing laughter and heartaches.

This audio book explains how the author found the Battery Park City community and it describes  the author’s early fears of dogs. The story progresses to the selection of a dog and the fortuitous procurement of Katie, a sweet cocker spaniel who isn’t wanted by her breeder. The listener then gets to enjoy Katie’s antics as a pup; Katie as a star with the stars Glenn interviews and for many years with the neighbors in the apartment building. Much of the story is about these neighbors, particularly Arthur and Pearl (affectionately called “PeRRL”, “Granny” or “Oldest”), the hall grandparents, and John, the single father with his three year old son, Ryan, who grows up with Katie. While Glenn goes to work, Katie spends the day with Arthur and Pearl and races up an down the hall with Ryan when he is little and later when he is home from school.

The book spans 15 years of Katie from lively puppy, to smart and sassy character and then to ailing senior dog. Many of us have smart and beautiful dogs and we can relate to the portrayal of  Katie with her own quirks, foibles and beauty. I enjoyed the author’s personalized communications with Katie.  I could certainly relate to that.

There were some great tidbits in the discussions of the people and their relationships with Katie. Glenn himself went through a depression for a time but was jolted out of it by a terrible accident. That made him thankful for his blessings and allowed him to see that “a grateful heart can’t be depressed.”

There seemed to be some very brief repetition of information as though the author wasn’t sure where to place the sentences and inadvertently they were left in twice. That is very minor. Be prepared however for a full disc on Katie’s aging followed by another disc on Pearl in her 90s as her health declines.  Those were not so cheerful listening but were interesting and ended with a loving upbeat tone.

The author narrates this audio and you learn about him, not only through the story, but also through the laughter and sadness that you can hear through his narration. I thought he did a very good job adding personality to the story.  This is a pleasant and enjoyable listen that would be good for any pet lover.

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* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on November 16, 2010.
The winners will be randomly selected from all entries.

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