Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mango Momma's MaxDog Book Review (with bonus adventure links)

MaxDog by Caryl Moll

Mango Momma review (short version)

Loved it! Buy it!

Go to Maxmom's blog here and look for the image of the book in the sidebar for instructions on how to buy it.

Mango Momma Review (long version)

I delayed buying this book. Why? Because I have come to know Maxmom through DWB and I was worried that I wouldn't like it. Then what? But I did finally send her an email, made my payment via PayPal and about a week later, my autographed copy arrived.

I'm not too proud to admit that I read the chapter entitled "Mango, Muiris and Maxdog" first. In fact I read it twice. And after I read the forward, I went back and read chapter 22 again. With that out of my system, back I went to chapter one.

I was worried during the first few chapters. "Oh no! Maxmom isn't like me at all!" Right up front she was bemoaning the idea of getting a "big" dog (Golden Retriever) and I was writhing with envy over the way her entire family participated in training and the fact that she was able to spend so much time with Max.

That didn't last long. As the story progressed, I related more and more with Maxmom and her journey getting to know Max. Maxmom is honest about her personal struggle with depression and loneliness. I doubt I am the only DWB mom who can identify with that.

I don't want to spoil the story. Let's just say that "life happened" to Maxmom, as it does to all of us, and sometimes she didn't handle it well. Sometimes my heart ached over her struggles and I wanted to make the story stop.

When Maxmom discovers the Internet, and DWBs in particular, I was totally there! She was telling my story! Her journey into blog land, finding all the other crazy DWB people, feeling part of something... "hey! that's me!"

I confess that when Max was sick, I found continued reading of the blog almost unbearable. I even stopped commenting. "How many times can I say 'I'm thinking of you?' " I regret that now. I didn't really understand the power of the DWB community and how important each and every comment is when our beloved pets are ill. Not two months after Max made his final journey, Mango had his first seizure and I learned for myself how much comfort there is in even the briefest comment.

At the end of the day, I think that is what this book is about. It's about how life can really be difficult for all of us and how the Internet has allowed us to connect with each other from around the world to share the good times and the bad with like minded people.

Some readers will recall Mango's big adventure in South Africa. When I contacted Maxmom to ask if Mango and his pals could go and visit Maxdog the only thing I was thinking was "Hey, Maxdog looks pretty cool and wouldn't it be fun to do an adventure with Mango and his pals in an exotic location like South Africa?"

It wasn't until Maxmom sent me a copy of chapter 22 to proof read that it dawned on me that she had been worried about how I might depict her country (which has certainly had its share of turmoil and controversy). But that's emblematic of the DWB circle for me. I know that I don't share political or religious views with lots of my Internet friends. I know that I have different values and ethics than some of them. But we share a love and devotion to our pets that overrides those differences.

In honor of Maxmom, Maxdog, and all of you out there in blogland, I am presenting an "Adventure in South Africa" retrospective. This adventure was a collaborative effort with the humans behind Asta, Petey, Lacie, and Joe Stains (may he rest in peace) blogs. It took us over a month to get it all together and good to go (during which I think we all went a little mental exchanging photoshop images and trying to figure out what the other was thinking).

Throughout, Maxmom dutifully provided photos for the backgrounds "oh, can you send us a picture of your living room, your yard, the park, the front gate, a lion?"

Of course there is plenty of suspense, romance, action, and, obviously, farting. Not to mention what remains one of the most disturbing fashion accessories ever, the Mango Purse.

Below are links to each installment.

If you want to get your own copy of Maxdog, please go to Maxmom's blog here and look for the contact info in her sidebar.

Mango Momma! Oh yeah!


Ziggy Stardust said...

Thanks for the review. I really mean it. I always hesitate to read any books about pets. They just get to me and I have a hard time finishing them, only because of the often sad moments when there is loss. I would like to try this book. I do remember very fondly the adventure in Africa which was so entertaining. Thanks again for the review and also for all the times you make me smile and laugh through Mango and Dexter. DWB is a community that a lot of my friends just don't get, but luckily for me, I do.

Anne and Sasha

Bouncing Bertie said...

Great review Mango Momma, really enjoyed reading it.

As you know, I also enjoyed the book greatly. In fact Bertie and I have, through the wonders of the internet, just been listening to Caryl being interviewed on a local radio station in South Africa. Isn't it great to hear her voice?

Thanks for giving us a bit of extra background to the South African adventure too. I hadn't thought much about how a South African might feel about their country is portrayed until I made an insensitive joke about sending money to an African bank account when purchasing MaxDog.

I suspect we have all learned much from our international blogging contacts.


Scout and Freyja said...

Each and every word in your assessment of the book is correct and beautiful. I have to ask - did you read it aloud to Mango and Dexter?

Sue said...

Thank you for the review. I'll get the book, but it also made me realize that I'm not the only one who felt lonely and depressed before I discovered blogging. I still deal with depression but I feel that blogging saved my life. I was so isolated and in need of someone to communicate with. It changed my life and I thought I was the only one. How cool!

Jed and Abby in MerryLand said...

We have also put off reading the book because, unlike Jack's fun book, in Max's book the dog does die in the end, which mama finds most depressing. However, your thoughtful review has given mama a much needed boot up the bum, as the Brits say, and we will try it.

Discovering dog blogs really opened up our world, too. We are lucky because mama comes from a pet loving family [everyone at every generational level has multiple dogs and/or cats in the household] and has pet loving friends and neighbors in her social circle. But the enormous pleasure of meeting pet lovers from all over the world through the internet was pure serendipity. In fact, mama has to credit Britain's Got Talent for the discovery. She was watching that show online a couple of years ago and saw some canine freestyle dancing acts [they usually have at least one good one every season], which led to internet searches for canine freestyle which lead to Honey the Great Dane's blog, which led to Mango's blog, and the rest, as they say, is history. The dog blog friends we have made have truly enriched our lives.

And it really does help A LOT to have support during bad times! Jed is slightly improved and right now we're just hoping to find and maintain balance as we fight to control his autoimmune disease.

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Mango Momma.

Jed & Abby and mama ML

Two French Bulldogs said...

Great review Mango
Benny & Lily

Bassetmomma said...

What a great review! It has me tearing up!

KB said...

Thanks for the review of MaxMom's book. I have been resisting buying it for the same reasons you said... but you've convinced me that I should read it.

Back when Max was sick, I never dreamed that I'd be in the same situation, especially so soon (because my dogs are young). It is amazing how much the dog-blog community helps a person's spirits through a very very tough period like this one. It really is true that every comment is like a little splash of light in what can feel like a dark tunnel. I understand that now far better than I ever wanted to...

I can't wait to read the series of posts about "Adventure in South Africa"!!!!

Moose said...

Very nice review- I may have to get momma to read it to me!