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Download Year of the Dog: A Novel (James A. Michener Fiction Series) epub

by Shelby Hearon

When her husband dumps her for an old girlfriend and sets all of Peachland, South Carolina, gossiping, Janey Daniels has to get away—far away—for a "sabbatical" year. She flees to Burlington, Vermont, home of Aunt May, her mother's only living relative. There she adopts Beulah, a Labrador puppy in training to become a companion dog for the blind. Not for a moment does Janey suspect that this "year of the dog" will change her life forever.

Shelby Hearon is an acknowledged master at illuminating the nuances of relationships. In Year of the Dog, she explores the surprising ways that the heart heals after a betrayal. While Janey is training Beulah, Beulah leads Janey to a new love, James Maarten, a smart, "fidgety" teacher they meet at the dog park. As Janey soon discovers, James has suffered a betrayal of his own that makes it hard for him to open up and trust her with even the smallest details of his past. While Janey tries to help James, she also reaches out to her enigmatic Aunt May, a retired librarian reputed to be the friend, perhaps even the lover, of popular mystery writer Bert Greenwood. When Janey attempts to solve the twin mysteries of why her great aunt has distanced herself from the family—and what her true relationship is with Bert Greenwood—Beulah provides the clues that lead Janey to uncover the secrets of her aunt's life. By the time Beulah's stay with Janey comes to an end, the people whose lives she's linked will discover that healing and reconciliation can come in the most unexpected ways.

Download Year of the Dog: A Novel (James A. Michener Fiction Series) epub
ISBN: 0292714696
ISBN13: 978-0292714694
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Literary
Author: Shelby Hearon
Language: English
Publisher: University of Texas Press; English Language edition (February 1, 2007)
Pages: 240 pages
ePUB size: 1764 kb
FB2 size: 1323 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 388
Other Formats: mbr txt lit doc

A fast-moving story of a young woman who moves to Vermont for a year to recover from a divorce. She "adopts" a puppy in training as a blind person's guide dog. She meets a very interesting young man, and life unfolds. Note: this is by an author in what must be a Michener writing school - not Michener..
I first read this book when I checked it out of the library. I loved it so much, I bought a copy to have in my personal library, as well as a copy for my mom. I'll admit to being a sucker for books featuring dogs, but this one was especially nice. The story was compelling and had some unexpected turns; the narrator is likable but not perfect. All in all, a good read, and for me, a book I'll read again, which is very rare for me!
I don't understand why this book wasn't more popular. I just loved it. If you like dogs you'll like the book. This book went out of print and I went to the trouble to find a copy to send to my mom so she can read it. Really worth it!!
Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Great look at Vermont from an "outsider's" view. Being a Vermonter myself I found this particularly interesting. Not the usual "dog story" but well interwoven with people, places, and interesting events.
Shelby Hearon is not a "native" Texan in the strict sense of the word, but she lived and worked in Texas for many years, and she's won just about all the literary awards that state has to offer. Even though her latest novel, "Year of the Dog" is mostly set in Vermont, it has the same Texas twang that has endeared other Shelby Hearon novels to her Texas readers.

The story opens as Janey Daniels learns her husband has left her for an old high school flame. Not only that, but the flame is pregnant, and worse, the whole town knows it. In fact, this juicy scandal is the talk of small town Peachland, and Janey decides she has to get away. She researches her options online and finds a prep-school for seeing-eye dogs in Burlington, Vermont. They need trainers, and Janey has a mysterious aunt living there whom she'd like to get to know better.

What transpires once Janey arrives in Vermont is the basis for this sweet and sometimes funny novel about healing from loss and betrayal and eventually finding a way to recovery. The book is divided into parts, the titles of which are taken from the fictional "puppy manual" that Janey is reading throughout the story. But these titles can also apply to Janey's new and unfamiliar life as well: Socializing, Building Worry, A Mounting Problem, Soliciting Approval, Avoiding Distraction and so on.

Hearon writes with a delicious mix of wit, compassion and sensitivity. I liked how the personal pain Janey is dealing with is so muted that the reader almost doesn't realize when they're being fed subtle reasons for the failure of the marriage, as in this passage from the day Janey first gets her puppy-in-training:

"I'd never spent all my time before with another living being, and it made me slightly panicked. You'd think marriage would be like that, but if you've been married you know that it isn't. You are at work and he is at work, or maybe he's off with his buddies and you're looking at the Carolina summertime grass, wondering if you need to water or if the ragged remnants of some early tropical storm is going to do the job for you."

There is no formula here. The characters are flawed and real; the story echoes with the quietness of a life in transition. Yes, there is a love interest for Janey, but the ending pulls no punches. Although it might well bring a poignant tear or two. And there are also a lot of very cute dogs.
A simple, short, and lovely read. The author dealt with painful subjects and yet did it without pathos. Though Janey has suffered a lot of indignity and pain, she does not indulge in great flights of self pity and chooses, instead, to build a new life for herself. She shows a great deal of strength and growth over the course of the novel and though she's level-headed and calm in the face of some pretty major emotional events, I didn't feel that she was unbelievable as a character. Hearon also dealt sensitively with the issue of Aunt May and her relationship and did a good job of making James something of an immature and sometimes exasperating but still lovable character. There was an overall feeling of serenity to this novel due to Hearon's treating her characters' various tragedies as hardships but not tragedies of epic proportions. This lent the book a very realistic feel and really rang true. Overall I felt this book was a lovely celebration of the ordinariness of life, of its trials and tribulations and triumphs, and of the way we must pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and carry on.
One of the wonderful aspects of this wonderful novel is that it is both a human-human love story and a human-dog love story. Let's start with the heroine--Janey--who is competent, loving, funny, and believable. Then there is James, shy and wounded, whom I fell in love with even before she did. The author's description of their growing relationship is delicate and charming and dear. Janey's parents are as terrible--then comprehensible--as Hearon meant them to be. Aunt May is brilliant, one of the most appealing fictional women I have met in ages. But, in fact, all the supporting characters are wonderful--even the thugs who live upstairs from Janey. Finally, there is the dog, whose name is Beulah. Every description of Beulah is so perfect--every movement, every gesture, every look--that I was glowing with pride for her progress and dreading the moment when the year of training might end. I profoundly admire Hearon's skill, grace, humanity, and humor. I unequivocally recommend this novel, which is seamless, engrossing, suspenseful, intelligent, and loving.
I've never read Hearon before, but am delighted to find a new-to-me author! I thoroughly loved this book, and even cried at the end. Happy tears.

Though at times I did skim because I wasn't interested in some of the detail. I would've like a little more tension in the story, but you know, sometimes life isn't high tension, is it?

Hearon is a wonderful story teller and the plot line with the dog gripped me completely.