Book Review: “Alive Day” by Tom Sullivan

alive day

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher. They thought I might enjoy it because I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain  by Garth Stein.   It’s not a book I might have otherwise picked up, and I enjoyed the opportunity to read it.

Based in part on a true story, Alive Day is about blind psychiatrist Brenden McCarthy and his guide dog Nelson, a big-hearted and courageous black Lab.  It’s also the story of Antwone Carver, a Marine who is injured in Iraq and is struggling with coming to terms with the physical limitations caused by his injury.  McCarthy volunteers his services at a veterans’ hospital, is assigned to Carver and attempts to help the young Marine build a new life.  Nelson becomes an important contributor to the therapeutic process by his gentle and comforting presence.  This is a story about dealing with tragedy and life’s challenges, and it’s told in a straight-forward  and uplifting way.   While the solutions to the magnitude of the problems at hand may be a bit oversimplified at times, the overall message of the book is positive and inspirational, and dog lovers will enjoy the passages about Nelson.

The author presents a convincing case of the need for better programs for veterans returning home from the war without being preachy or political.  However, I would have liked to have seen the bond between Nelson and McCarthy conveyed in greater depth.  While McCarthy’s love for and reliance on Nelson is very apparent, the story doesn’t delve deeply enough into the spiritual aspects of the human animal bond for this reviewer’s taste.

The book is a heartwarming and life-affirming testament to how the exuberant spirit and love of a dog can heal wounded hearts.

4 Comments on Book Review: “Alive Day” by Tom Sullivan

  1. Ingrid
    August 2, 2009 at 6:10 pm (10 years ago)

    It is a touching book, Wendy. It’s actually the second in a series, from the description, it sounds like the first book, “Together – A Novel of Shared Vision” might get more into the connection between Nelson and Brenden McCarthy.

    Reply
  2. Literary Feline
    August 2, 2009 at 1:44 pm (10 years ago)

    This does sound like an interesting one, Ingrid. I imagine there is a very strong bond between a guide dog and his human. It’s too bad the book didn’t delve more deeply into that. Still, it sounds like this is a worthwhile read. Thanks for the great review.

    Reply
  3. Ingrid
    July 31, 2009 at 3:50 pm (10 years ago)

    It’s my pleasure, Leslie-Ann, I’m glad you’re enjoying my book reviews. I just wish there were more hours in each day to read more books!

    Reply
  4. leslie-ann
    July 31, 2009 at 12:15 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks, so much for showing us these books!

    Reply

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