Book Review: Charlie: A Love Story by Barbara Lampert
Title: Charlie: A Love Story
Author: Barbara Lampert
Genre: Dog Memoir
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Charlie: A Love Story tells of the beautiful love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and the author, Barbara Lampert. It takes place in Malibu, California. When Charlie turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became mostly about Charlie. Charlie: A Love Story is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story as well. Charlie was Barbara’s loyal confidante and best friend. He was indomitable, had a zest for life and an uncanny emotional intelligence. Charlie: A Love Story is about devotion, joy, loss, and renewal, about never giving up or giving in. But mostly it’s about an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary relationship.
Only true dog lovers will understand when it comes to a dog’s “bonus time.” Bonus time is time we have been given to someone we love after all the odds were stacked against them to be with us. I was at the vet yesterday waiting for our Sheltie’s stool sample to be diagnosed and after fiddling with my phone, my eyes wandered to the wall. On the wall was a poster with maybe ten dogs of different breeds and their life spans. Most of the life spans ended at 10 – 12 years. The Chihuahua was the only dog that could actually live to 18 years, something I never knew. But can you imagine giving birth to a child knowing you only could see that child grow up to be ten years old? Just doesn’t seem fair that man’s (or woman’s for that matter) best friend has such a short stay with us.
Barbara Lampert, the author of Charlie: A Love Story, has written a tender, sentimental memoir about the love of her life, a Golden Retriever named Charlie. As I got further in the book, I realized that Barbara and Charlie shared a certain unmistakable bond. It was a soul mate experience – a spiritual type of love between two living beings. What started as a journal for Barbara to write about her gardening projects became a living history of the time Charlie and she shared special moments especially in her garden. Written in diary format, you get a peek into Barbara’s thoughts as she talks about her world and the dog that melted her heart. Charlie was no ordinary dog. Charlie was special and this book was written as a legacy in his honor.
When a book grabs you from the beginning, it’s a winner to me. If you are a dog lover or a gardening enthusiast, you’ll love how Barbara included not only Charlie’s escapades but her fondness for bringing beautiful and exotic plants to her “special place.” I felt as if I were right there. It’s an extraordinary tale about an extraordinary dog and the love and spiritual connection that only true dog lovers can understand.
And, yes, I cried at the end.