This month, the book club read Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote. It’s not something that I would normally pick up and even if I had, I probably would not have gotten past the first chapter had it not been a group read. So, because I was able to branch out into a new literary area, I’m glad that we picked the book. But, not being a dog owner or an avid outdoors-woman, that’s about where my satisfaction ended.
The book was interesting to read and very well-researched, but I had trouble relating to any of the characters or their situations. I don’t have a dog, so I knew going into it that I wouldn’t relate to the main premise of the book–the relationship between dog and owner. But, I don’t ski, shoot elk, or go mountaineering, so a lot of the background action was also lost on me. I did enjoy reading about the history of the domestication of dogs and what is going on in pet research today. If you are interested in those things, you’d probably enjoy this book.
I can’t say that I recommend it for a book club, though. Unless you have a group of people that are all into skiing, rafting, hunting, and dogs (of course), this book probably won’t spark a lot of lively discussion or debate. If you do have a group like that, go for it! It will probably be right up your alley. Otherwise, this one is better left for individual reading. Even then, you might want to save it for a camping trip or other outdoors weekend, when you can maybe relate more to the material.
Have you read any books that were completely out of your normal genre or realm of experience? Did you have trouble relating to them or did they open your mind to an entirely new world?