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The $60,000 Dog: My Life with Animalsby Lauren Slater
Synopses & Reviews
From the time she is nine years old and discovers a "Private Way" full of the wonderful and creepy creatures of the wild — spiders, deer, moles, chipmunks, and foxes — Lauren Slater discovers in animals a refuge from the troubled life of her suburban home. As she matures, her bond with animals — raccoons, horses, swans, cats and, above all, dogs — strengthens and grows more complex and compelling. They offer relief from the pain of her mother's mental illness, from a foster family where she feels not at all at home, from her own periodic bouts with depression. As a psychologist, a reporter, an amateur naturalist and above all an enormously gifted writer, she draws us into the stories of her love for the animals that are so much more than pets.
When an excerpt of one of the chapters of this book appeared in O magazine, they received more mail — both laudatory and angry — than they'd ever had; in fact, they reprinted it in a 20th anniversary "best of" issue as their most controversial piece. In that excerpt, Lauren described her intense love for the animals in her life without apology, and argued that there was no reason to believe that the lives of animals had less value than the lives of humans. Throughout the chapters in this book, she examines that conviction through stories, finding, at one point: "I don't know where the beast in me begins and the human ends, or what sort of centaur I am."
"A thoughtful examination of a sometimes difficult life, ameliorated and often alleviated by connections with nature and animals....Dogs, wasps, and bats also figure in a poetic narrative that gives the reader a melodic look into a deeply considered life." Booklist
"Slater continually surprises with connections she makes. Beautifully written, and not just for animal lovers." Kirkus Reviews
"The beauty of Lauren Slater's prose is shocking....Slater's vision is, ultimately, one of unity and possibility." Claire Messud, Newsday
"A lovely writer, easily read, often poetic." Michael Winerip, The New York Times Book Review
"An enormously poetic and ebullient writer." Elle
"Slater's writing is confessional without being sentimental, honest without being overbearing." Joseph P. Kahn, The Boston Globe
"Slater is more poet than narrator, more philosopher than psychologist, more artist than doctor....Every page brims with beautifully rendered images of thoughts, feelings, emotional states." The San Francisco Chronicle
A stunning new book about the role of animals in our lives, by a popular and acclaimed writer.
From the time she is nine years old and discovers a “Private Way” full of the wonderful and creepy creatures of the wild — spiders, deer, moles, chipmunks, and foxes — Lauren Slater finds in animals a refuge from the troubled life of her suburban home. As she matures, her bond with animals — raccoons, horses, swans, cats, and, primarily, dogs — strengthens and grows more complex and compelling. They offer relief from the pain of her mother’s mental illness, from a foster family where she feels not at all at home, from her own periodic bouts with depression. As a psychologist, a reporter, an amateur naturalist, and, above all, an enormously gifted writer, Lauren Slater draws us into the stories of her love for the animals that are so much more to her than pets.
About the Author
Lauren Slater is the author of six books, including Welcome to My Country, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, Opening Skinner’s Box, the short-story collection Blue Beyond Blue, and Love Works Like This, which chronicled the agonizing decisions she made relating to her psychiatric illness and her pregnancy. Slater has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2004 National Endowments for the Arts Award, multiple inclusions in Best American volumes, and a Knight Science Journalism fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Slater was a practicing psychologist for eleven years before embarking on a full-time writing career. She served as the clinical and later executive director of AfterCare Services. Slater lives and writes in Harvard, Massachusetts.
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