Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pick of the Litter and a Pair of Real Dogs

"All Dogs Go to Kevin" by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang  Grand Prairie Publishing  323 pages   $26

This pick of the litter is an engaging semi-biography from a female vet in the San Diego area.  She credits her three dogs with giving her at least as much of an education as vet school did.  The Kevin in the title is a reference to one of her and her husband's best friends, who died young. 

When the family dog died, one of her little kids misunderstood that "the dog went to Heaven" for "Kevin."

"Black Man In a White Coat - a Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine"  by Damon Tweedy, M.D.   Picador   291 pages   $26

Of late I have been making a sincere effort to learn why there is such a distinct separation between the white and black races.  I'm not talking about the professional racists like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Barack Obama.  I am talking about people just like us - regardless of skin color.  Whitey bashing seems to be the new indoor activity.  #Black Lives Matter or #Oscars So White.

When I saw this book, I thought, "At last!  A considered account from a doctor that happens to be black!"  In the end I was no wiser and rather saddened at Tweedy's ability and willingness to hang onto slights other people - no matter their skin color - would undoubtedly have laughed at and then turned into an anecdote to be shared over many a convivial dinner.  .  The prime example - his freshman year as a medical student, the professor turned to him on the way out of the auditorium and asked, "Are you here about the lights?  Look how dim it is over there (pointing)."  He just said, "No" and has been stewing about it for more than 20 years.  I stand my ground!  There four references to it throughout the length of the book.

He bewails the statistics that favor white longevity over black, but has to admit that black lifestyle habits account for diabetes, bad hearts plus the fact that blacks are reluctant to change life styles.  In short, he concedes that blacks could help themselves, but refuse to do so.  But:  he wants the rest of us to take care of them despite this!  Say, what?

"Stories I Tell Myself - Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson" by Juan F. Thompson   Alfred A. Knopf   271 pages   $26.95   

Thompson describes his father Hunter Thompson thusly:  He was an alcoholic and drug fiend, a wild, angry, passionate, sometimes dangerous, charismatic, unpredictable, irresponsible, idealistic, sensitive man with a powerful and deeply rooted sense of justice.

Let me shorten that a little (I am a writer, too)  He was a flaming ass hole. 

Juan, the poor kid, excused all of Hunter's bad behaviors in the end.  The great dramatic resolution, open arms, reconciliation was only because as Hunter aged,  weakened and was unable to write due to a 5th of whiskey daily for 40 years, he knew he needed help.  And the poor kid went for it.   

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