Leave the Dogs at Home: A Memoir
Leave the Dogs at Home is an irreverent take on love and grief.
A story about two crazy, unruly years after my eccentric husband died when I slogged, with good dogs and gritty roots in tow, through post-mortem home repair, career disaster, serial gardening and geezer dating, to discover a better life.
The idea for this memoir came after throwing down the last in a succession of sappy grief books. Disgusted with tales that pandered to the myth of perfect marriages, lovely husbands, and predictable arcs of grief, I knew the rest of us with messy, complicated relationships and non-PC styles of grief needed an antidote.
Unconventional in every way, Jim and I were friends, lovers and sometimes enemies for twenty-seven years. He was a man who loved ideas, and that made me love him. A difficult man who found love the most uncomfortable idea of them all. We finally married, for health insurance, but called our legal bonding “It Means Absolutely Nothing.” Less than two years after we married, he died from cancer.
His illness mutated our long-term arm’s-length relationship to one of caregiver and patient with a wrenching intimacy. More importantly, Jim's death forced me to face up to the hard, evasive truths of our relationship and my connection to the world around me.
This vibrant, witty, and unflinchingly confessional book challenges the norms about love and grief. It’s the kind of real truth you only hear at the kitchen table with a glass of wine.
The book is deeply connected to the land and the working of soil - gardens, nature, and place operate as a metaphors of the brute hand of life and its yielding cycles of healing. The story is set in and around Bloomington, Indiana, with rich descriptions of the quirky community, and chapters that take place in Boxerwood Garden and Highland County hills of Virginia, the harbor of Lockeport in Nova Scotia, the byways of Waterloo, Pennsylvania, the streets of Bangkok, and the seaside Hacienda del Mar resort in Baja, Mexico.
Available in paperback, Kindle, Nook, and Audible formats
Buy your copy or a gift online:
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Indiana University Press
Leave the Dogs at Home is part of the Breakaway Books Series published by Indiana University Press.