Distinguished British man of letters J. R. Ackerley hardly thought himself a dog lover when, well into middle age, he came into possession of a German shepherd named Tulip. To his surprise, she turned out to be the love of his life, the “ideal friend” he had been seeking in vain for years. My Dog Tulip is a bittersweet retrospective account of their 16-year companionship, as well as a profound and subtle meditation on the strangeness that lies at the heart of all relationships. In vivid and sometimes startling detail, Ackerley tells of Tulip’s often erratic behavior and very canine tastes and of his own fumbling but determined efforts to ensure for her an existence of perfect happiness.My Dog Tulip has been adapted to screen as a major animated feature film with a cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. It has been heralded as “a stroke of genius” by New York Magazine and “the love story of the year” by Vanity Fair.
“One of the greatest books ever written by anybody in the world.” (Truman Capote)
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I had heard that this was an excellent dog book, written by a man who loved his dog. I'm not sorry that I read it to satisfy my curiosity. However, I wouldn't recommend it and I certainly won't listen to it again. Ackerley seemed completely fixated on Tulip's elimination and reproductive functions. I know those things are part of owning a dog and can be amusing. They were quite funny in this book the first several times he described them. However, there are many other things that go into a person's relationship with their dog, and the book barely addressed them. Ackerley clearly loved Tulip, but I found myself shouting,
Ralph Cosham convincingly spoke in Ackerley's voice. I probably wouldn't have finished the book in print form. The narration improved the experience.
My Dog Tulip was made into an animated movie. I watched it before reading the book and thought they did an excellent job. It was actually more entertaining than the book. I had hoped for more depth from the book, but unfortunately I got only more vivid descriptions of Tulip's bladder and bowel issues along with her sexual frustration.
Save your time and watch the movie.
- N. Rogers
- S. Wells