Saturday, February 19, 2011

Recommended beach, bonfire reading: Cowboys Are My Weakness

I have a dog named Jackson, who between the ages of four and five, in people years, became suicidal. In a period of less than twelve months, Jackson jumped out of the back of a speeding truck, ate a fourteen-pound bag of nonorganic garden fertilizer, and threw himself between the jaws of a hundred-and-fifty-pound Russian wolfhound.  Similarily, when I turned twenty-eight years old, I started to date a man whose favorite song was 'Desperado.'  
... My friend Debra said, 'He's not an altogether bad person. He just has no imagination, and of course, that has made him a little mean.' 
(From "Jackson is Only One of My Dogs", by Pam Houston)
As I was on the hunt for some fun reading, an escape, my sister handed me Cowboys Are My Weakness, by Pam Houston.  It takes me out of the mountains, bare branches and grey skies of a Northwest winter into the plains and prairies of Montana and Wyoming, and once, the frozen tundra of Alaska. Her characters are strong women with a weakness for dogs and the wrong kind of men.  You can relate to how they change their lives, adopting the odd hobby here and there. Who hasn't donned ugly thigh high rubber boots to stand knee-deep in freezing river water, fly-fishing for love? Then, in a moment of clarity, her characters connect with who they really are, and what they really want in companionship. Most likely a dog.

In an interview with Powell's Books about her later book, Sight Hound, Houston says, "it was time to write about a few good men. That one of those men happens to be a dog, well, who would call it a surprise?"

Adding Houston's bibliography to my beach, bonfire, lazy day reading list.

(Photo: I'm thinking a paul newman-esque cowboy would be a fun catch.)

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