Tag Archives: Travel

Review: Pit Stops

Pit Stops Book Cover

Pit Stops: Crossing the Country w/Loren the Rescue Bully
By Michelle Sathe
Say The Words Press
2010
182pp

The Short of It:

Pit Stops is the kind of cozy read that you can curl-up with. There’s some sadness yes, but ultimately a lot of hope and stories guaranteed to warm your heart.

The Rest of It:

Sathe is a journalist for my town’s local paper. When she hit the big 4-0, she decided to head out on a road trip across the country to help promote animal rescue, specifically for the “bully” breeds that tend to get a lot of bad press. To do this, she had to pick the perfect companion for the trip. That lucky girl was Loren, a homeless pit bull/staffordshire/bulldog mix who was living at The Brittany Foundation, a rescue sanctuary very close to my home. Sathe, also a volunteer and board member for the foundation, was hoping that at the end of the trip, Loren would find her forever home.

As short as this book is, it packs quite a punch. As Sathe visits with animal rescues across the country, she encounters folks from all walks of life who volunteer their time to help animals in need. As she spends time with Loren, she see first hand how people react to bully breeds. Even though Loren is an absolute love, people are often hesitant to come up to her unless they are familiar with the breed or have big dogs of their own. In addition to this reaction, some towns have legislation in place that prevents the adoption of such breeds. What this means is that many of the animals are destroyed because agencies are not able to adopt them out.

As Sathe treks across the country, she continually asks herself why some dogs find homes when others do not. What makes a family go for one dog over another? And why is it that when some dogs find homes, they just don’t work out in the long run? As frustrating as it was for Sathe to address this in the book, I have to say that it comes down to confidence. A potential owner has to have the confidence to handle a particular dog. Sometimes, this is a learning process and some are more willing to give into that gray area (where they admit that they have no confidence) in order to gain the knowledge needed to care for a particular breed, and others simply cave to their lack of confidence and end up bringing the animal back.

Having had an adoption experience that did not go well, many years ago, I can honestly say that I’ve been that person. The person that completely loses confidence and suddenly realizes that she’s completely out of her league. It’s a very humbling and life-changing experience to think that in all manners of life, you are quite successful yet you cannot care for a dog who wants nothing more than to be with you. Now, I am not the type of person to give up easily and I refused to take the dog back so we went forward with training only for the poor thing to have a heart attack at the vet. Needless to say, he didn’t make it, but we learned so much from that experience. Now, several years later we decided to rescue a puppy from the shelter and it’s been a completely different experience. Not perfect, but everyone in the family is confident this time around which I feel really makes a difference.

No matter where you stand on “bully” breeds, Pit Stops will appeal to many readers. Sathe is a foodie, so all of her stops center around must-visit restaurants and let me tell you, the food is to-die for! She had me drooling more than once. The moments she shares with Loren are truly special because Loren is such a character. A loyal companion but a bit of a comedian, too. Although, I do not know the author personally, I sure feel as if I do after reading the book. Oh, and I’ll forgive her for saying that “Safety Dance” is the stupidest 80’s song ever made. How can she not love Men Without Hats?? She obviously did not dress-up in a black trench coat and rock the Mod look during that time. Ha!

Humor aside, I encourage you to check out Sathe’s website. There, you can purchase a copy of the book, see photos of the meals she enjoyed, visit her blog and read more about Michelle and Loren.

Although I ended up not adopting from The Brittany Foundation, a few of the folks there went out of their way to answer my questions. If you have it in your heart to make a donation, please visit their website here.

Source: Given to me by a friend, via the author.

Review: Everything is Going to Be Great

Everything is Going to Be Great Book Cover

Everything is Going to Be Great
By Rachel Shukert
HarperCollins
July 2010
312pp

The Short of It:

This memoir will leave you laughing, but not before reading about a few cringe-worthy encounters involving sex, drugs and poor judgment.

The Rest of It:

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel… I’m not sure if I should love you, or hate you. Rachel Shukert’s account  of her time spent in Europe is both funny and sad at the same time. She’s a storyteller and can make any situation funny, but my problem with this particular memoir is that some things just aren’t funny. Like rape. Now, I love a good laugh. I’ve been known to laugh at little people in diapers, running down the street (ala the tv show Jackass) but rape? Not funny.

Basically, much of the book is spent with Shukert trying to find herself. She’s educated and has a supportive family but when things go south while trying to live on her own in Europe, she quickly resorts to juvenile, school-girl antics. These antics involve many sexual romps with various men, usually strangers and sometimes involving large amounts of drink and drug.

I stuck with the book because I wanted to see if Shukert matured by the book’s end but I think most readers will tire of the sexual escapades outlined in nearly every chapter. I will say this, if you go into it knowing that some things may be completely inappropriate, you might be able to push judgement aside and just enjoy the writing. Shukert’s writing is crisp and snappy and yes, very funny.

If you find yourself looking for a funny read and don’t mind sex, drugs or colorful language, then this would be a good choice for you. Plus, it’s a super-quick read. 

Source: This book was sent to me by the publisher.