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Following Atticus 
Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship
Following Atticus by Tom Ryan
by Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan leads an active intellectual life in Newburyport
as editor of the town newspaper, The Undertoad.  He breathed in and thrived on the town's politics and divisions without hesitation to tell the truth and take people to task.  Then one day, his life changed, when he got roped into caring for a dog no one else would take.  The time he spent with this dog, Max, leads to that special dog, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch.  

FOLLOWING ATTICUS is the story about a friendship between a man and his dog, a friendship that leads the man to follow his dog, hiking the high peaks of the White Mountains.  The author gives readers a vibrant sense of place as he describes his town and its people.  Overweight and living a life of the mind, Atticus leads him to a more active lifestyle into the natural world outside the town.  At one point, Atticus's breeder exhorts Ryan to follow the dog  --- and he does. 
Ryan does not follow the typical owner as alpha dog of the pack.  Instead, Atticus takes the lead. Atticus leads Ryan into more places than just the physical mountains before them.  He leads Ryan into a rich inner space. FOLLOWING ATTICUS is at once a book about the richness of friendship between man and dog, and yet, the story also moves outward to others.  FOLLOWING ATTICUS explores the relationship between father and son, the author's changing relationship to the town and even his participation in charity work that affects those much farther away.  As the author increasingly moves into a space of solitude between man, dog and mountain, in a perhaps unexpected way, his life connects more and more with others.

FOLLOWING ATTICUS is the perfect choice for anyone who loves dogs and also for sons and fathers (and even daughters and fathers for women readers like myself). FOLLOWING ATTICUS has a spiritual element that emerges from the story and experience itself, a gentle spirituality that is not heavy or overdone.  FOLLOWING ATTICUS touches both the heart and intellect.  This book
makes for wonderful nighttime reading and a terrific gift for friends and family especially since it is not one of those overly cute dog books.  FOLLOWING ATTICUS grows on you with each page.  Although the title and blurbs clearly give readers a hint about the contents, FOLLOWING ATTICUS is much, much more than I initially expected.  As soon as I finished the book, my husband picked it up and had much the same reaction.  FOLLOWING ATTICUS is a keeper, one of those memorable books that will stand out to me years from now after having read it.

Publisher: William Morrow (September 20, 2011)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

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