Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cannonball Read - Book 91

I got this book for the Natester for Christmas, but really that's just because I wanted to read it. Here's the back-of-the-book description for Dog Man:
"This is the story of Morie Sawataishi, who lived a radically unconventional life, particularly in ultramodern and blatantlly conformist Japan. He was a man most of us would never have the chance to meet, but from whom we have much to learn.

"After World War II, there were only a handful of Akita dogs left in Japan - the iconic dogs had been donated to the war effort, either eaten or their pelts used for coats. Morie became obsessed with the magificent, fiercely loyal dogs and single-handedly revived the four-thousand-year-old breed and saved it from extinction. He lived his life for the dogs, and he did it in a very un-Japanese way: defying convention, breaking the law, giving up the opportunity to live a fancy life in the city with a prestigious job. Instead, he moved to the isolated, rural snow country of Japan in the midst of the war, and never left, accompanied reluctantly by his wife, Kitako - a sheltered sophisticate from Tokyo. Due in large part to Morie's perseverance and passion, the Akita breed has become wildly popular, sometimes selling for millions of yen. Dog Man tells the story of Morie's unique and soulful path, and at each stage incorproates the special dog that came to define the period for him. From Three Good Lucks to One Hundred Tigers, Victory Princess to Shiro, the dogs and their kisho, or Akita spirit, spring from the page, as does Morie himself, who would become a revered figure in the snow country - a peaceful man, a mountain man, a dog man."

Sigh. This was a lovely book. The description tells you everything you need to know, but let me reiterate: this guy gave up "the good life" in pursuit of SAVING A BREED OF A DOG THAT WAS ABOUT TO BE EXTINCT. Can you imagine? Of course, the good life came to him in a different way, considering he's a now in the Akita Preservation Society Hall of Fame (who knew there was such a thing?), and his life was enriched by hundreds of dogs. He alienated his wife and children, and drank too much, and probably lost thousands of dollars by never selling a single puppy, but he came out in top - in his soul. Dog Man's first chapter and last chapter were pretty trite, but the meat in the middle were great.

Ever loved a dog? Read this book.

Dog Man - A-

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