September 01, 2014

Travels with Casey by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Travels with Casey; one immediately compares the title to the Travels with Charlie written by Steinbeck.  And that's kind of the point.  The author thought about that classic book and then decided to do his own spin on it.  Take his dog on a trip around the country in an RV, but instead of learning about the people, he wanted to learn about the dogs of the country.

Denizet-Lewis never really felt connected to his dog.  Sure he took care of Casey well, made sure he had everything he needed, but he always felt as if maybe Casey didn't want to be his dog.  There just wasn't a connection with him despite several years together.  So on a writing assignment he decides to pack it up and see if being stuck in an RV together will do anything for that connection.  Along the way he'll stop at various points in the US known for Dog Shows, unique dog parks, dog people, and other such things relating to dogs.

Despite this being a book about dogs, Denizet-Lewis encounters several different people as well.  From the guy who will stop at nothing to find a lost dog, to the guy who lives with wolf-dogs, people can be just as different as dog breeds.  Some of them he describes as a bit crazy, but he takes care to show the goodness that they all have and the common bond of dog ownership.  These are all people, that for various reasons, are obsessed with their dogs or helping dogs.  And it's nice to read about that sometimes when there's so much on the news that points to the other directions.  For himself, Denizet-Lewis tells you all about his flaws, but he comes across as a genuinely likable guy. 

I liked the pace of this book.  While there were sections I would have liked to read more on (Best Friends Animal Sanctuary) I think overall the different snippets were enough to keep the book moving along and interesting.  I enjoyed all the different things related to dogs that he found on his travels and didn't know about some of the others (dog shaped hotel, etc.).  The only part I didn't really like was that so much of his personal life and drama invaded the book.  I think it's probably more of a memoir/dog travel book and while there was nothing particularly out there, I guess I just expected it to be more about the dogs and less about his personal anguish.  It was a mix between.  Again, that doesn't mean this book was poorly written, it just wasn't what I expected based on the title.

For those that like memoirs and books about dogs this is probably going to be a good read.  It has enough whimsy mixed with enough serious topics to keep it interesting.

**This book was won in a Goodreads Giveaway**

Travels with Casey
Copyright 2014
309 pages

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