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Book Review: Dog Church

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Dog Church

by Gail Gilmore

Genre: Memoir—Dog Care

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dog Church is a memoir based on the experiences of Gail Gilmore about her connection to the animals in her life. This book was the Rainbow Awards Runner Up 2017 Best Lesbian Book, and Rainbow Awards Finalist 2017 Best LGBT Non Fiction & Biography/Memoir.

It's not often I give a book five stars; nor do I sit and inhale it in one sitting. But for Dog Church, I did both!

For me, this book had a very Marley and Me flavour to it—minus the mischievous misdeeds of a naughty pup. Gilmore's ability to articulate the impact her dogs have had on her life was so eloquently written that there was never a moment of stumbling over the writing. Her words flowed with such ease, delivering a depth of emotion that I have not felt in a long time.

Many reviews suggested having tissues at hand but I truly believed I could tough out this concise 168-page book ... I could not. Gail's beautifully told story caught me—TWICE!

The most precious and emotional chapters are the ones where Gail comes to terms with saying goodbye to her beloved dogs. These are well-balanced by the delightful descriptions of the first time these pups came into Gail's life too. The raw honesty and emotional vulnerability that Gail shares so openly is something we all experience but perhaps internalise a great deal more.

Although this is a memoir, the colourful world building and natural dialogue gives it an almost novel-like feel, making it such a pleasure to read.

If you want a moment of deep reflection and to just hop out of the busyness of life for a while, this book explores a deeper spirituality around the themes of unconditional love and coping with grief. That is why I recommend Dog Church, without a shadow of a doubt, to those who share a meaningful connection to their pets—for whom we simply have stewardship over for their days on earth.


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