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Review: Expertly written, There's a Hamster in the Dashboard is just what we need as humans living all too much of our lives without smiling. Berner will make you laugh, make you cry, and leave you with a smile on your face. I would liken this book to Chicken Soup for the Soul. The essays are great on their own, but if you wrap them up in a neat little package (ie: this book), you'll have something you can read to brighten your day and uplift your spirit. I would recommend this book, but also think it makes the perfect gift for that hard to buy for friend or relative. Congratulations on a great book Mr. Berner. This is definitely a Five Star Read!
A book of essays by award-winning author and journalist David W. Berner is the next best thing to storytelling around a bonfire. In There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard, Berner shares stories of “a life in pets”—from a collie that herds Berner home when the author goes “streaking” through the neighborhood as a two-year-old, to a father crying in front of his son for the only time in his life while burying the family dog on the Fourth of July. And from the ant farm that seems like a great learning experience (until the ants learn how to escape), to the hamster that sets out on its own road trip (but only gets as far as the dashboard). Along the way, Berner shows that pets not only connect us with the animal world, but also with each other and with ourselves. The result is a collection of essays that is insightful and humorous, entertaining and touching.
David W. Berner is a journalist, broadcaster, teacher, and author of two award-winning books: Accidental Lessons, which earned the Royal Dragonfly Grand Prize for Literature, and Any Road Will Take You There, which was a Grand Prize Finalist for the 2015 Hoffer Award for Books. Berner’s stories have been published in a number of literary magazines and journals, and his broadcast reporting and audio documentaries have aired on the CBS Radio Network and dozens of public radio stations across America. He teaches at Columbia College Chicago.
Print or Ebook: Amazon
Print copy only: Dream of Things
Excerpt (from the chapter called "The Intelligence of Dogs"):
When I was three years old, my mother turned her head for just a moment, and I slipped out the front door. I toddled my way down the steep street in front of our home. Naked. Absolutely bare-bottomed.
“Do you know where your son is?” This is how my mother remembered the neighbor’s phone call to our house. “He’s happy as ever; just out for a stroll. But he also looks like he’s on a mission. Oh, and now the dog’s there, too.”
Sally came sprinting from behind. When she caught up, she started to bark and then nudge her nose on my butt and belly.
“The dog is dancing around him like she wants to play or something,” the neighbor told my mother.
Sally kept barking, nudging. I kept walking. Then Sally started to run in a circle around me, as if she were herding sheep.
Mom hung up the phone and hurried out the door.
By this time I was all the way down the street, but I was no longer walking away from home. I was now walking back. Sally, with her persistent shepherding, had turned me around.
My mother was part of the way down the block when she stopped and instead of frantically chasing after me, she simply watched.
“I knew Sally was a good dog,” she said. “But I had never seen a dog do anything like that.” Mom grabbed my arm and gave me a slap on the butt—just enough to get my attention—and then crouched down, wrapped me in her arms, and pulled me in tight. Sally began to whimper and lick my face. My mother hugged her, looked Sally in the eyes, and softly said, “Thank you, girl.”
|Photo by Olivia Brey of Oh! Photography|