17 July 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Dog Water Free, A Memoir: A coming-of-age story about an improbable journey to find emotional truth by Michael Jay

When the author sent me this book for review, I wasn’t sure if I was excited or annoyed. Lately, the self-published memoirs that I have run across have left to be desired. The title was intriguing so I decided to give it a go… so glad that I did.

Beautifully written, gorgeously executed. I’m a huge fan of Frank McCourt and I got the same type of vibe from his writing style – he’s able to capture his boyhood in such a unique and loving way. Perhaps it’s because of the Angela/Marge connection and how his love shines through for his mother, not sure, but there it is.

The writing and the editing are perfection, from what I saw. The pacing was well laid out. The timeline and plot flowed flawlessly. I honestly cannot find a single thing wrong with this book… except…

The byline for this book is “A coming-of-age story about an improbably journey to find emotional truth”. I am totally and completely on board with the coming-of-age and improbable. The emotional truth of this book is where I have the problem. I think the author wanted this to be a hook or something. I’m not really sure. Don’t get me wrong, what he describes is nothing to poo-poo, but it was revealed in such an odd off-the-cuff way and the build up was overdone. I was expecting something… more?

It also seemed out of left field. I get it (and I’m trying hard to not give any spoilers here) but I just felt like it could have either been left off all together or there should have been some more meat in that. It was quickly revealed and then… nothing. That was a small disappointment.

If you pretend those few pages don’t exist, this book is easily five stars. I hated to even mention this because I realize that this was probably a pivotal point in the author’s life and shaped who he is today, but I just don’t feel it was explored enough. It just was dropped and… nothing.

My nit-picking aside, however, this is recommended as a MUST read for memoir readers.

Meet Joe Black visits The Wonder Years in the true story of DOG WATER FREE by debut author Michael Jay. It chronicles the journey of a boy named Mikee, whose coming-of-age search for emotional truth lands an orphan from the unlikely side of Detroit front and center before England’s Queen, America’s Maestro, and the first non-Italian Pontiff in more than 400 years. A family saga at its core, DOG WATER FREE is an uplifting story of discovery that celebrates a remarkable hero in the person of an ordinary mom who is thrust into an extraordinary situation in a neighborhood of the city she loves.

Mikee is eleven when his world turns upside down as his mom shares news from her doctor. She has a year to prepare her family for her death. Her passing will leave the man she loves and the four children she cherishes alone to fend for themselves. “At least you’ll always have your dad,” she tells them. Still on her mission fifteen months later, her focus heightens when her husband drops dead.

With that, Mikee’s improbable coming-of-age journey begins.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2013: 29

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