Libro opened the author's heart, prompted her into endearments she previously rolled her eyes at . . . Will touch the heart.
This sweet sequel to Bark if You Love Me, in which Bernikow first introduced her beloved brown boxer, Libro (adopted in the late '90s after he was rescued by the police), relates their subsequent adventures living in Manhattan. Libro relished apartment life even in a five-floor walkup, making friends with the neighbors ("it takes a building to raise a dog") and endearing himself to Bernikow's friends. So urban was Libro that he had difficulty adjusting to a month's vacation in the Hamptons and refused to go in the water. Although clearly smitten with her dog, Bernikow leavens her adoration with references to literary figures and their pets, such as Virginia Woolf's Pinka and Emily Brontë's Keeper. She also delivers a humorous account of the book tour for Bark if You Love Me, which included paw stamping by Libro as well as autographing by Bernikow at bookstores. But Bernikow's bout with cancer, during which Libro barely left her side, was followed by the dog's own diagnosis with a tumor soon after his ninth birthday,. Bernikow describes her intense pain after losing her beloved companion, which she marked with a postmortem party for friends and admirers. (June 15)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
In this sequel to the San Francisco Chroniclebest seller Bark If You Love Me(2000), which was received so positively by city-dwelling dog lovers, street-smart, professional Bernikow adopts a stray boxer she finds in Manhattan's Central Park. The unlikely pair seem made for each other, though Bernikow admits that Libro has probably had a better influence on her than vice versa (hence the book's subtitle). Readers will enjoy the continued antics of Libro as media hound (following the publication of Bernikow's first book), as the center of attention during the pair's frequent walks in the upscale Riverside Drive area, and as a source of therapy after Bernikow's cancer diagnosis. They will be touched by her account of how she coped with Libro's final years and prepared for his death. Loosely written and somewhat rambling, this is not as compelling a read as John Grogan's Marley & Me, but it should appeal to a similar readership-the millions who love dogs and share their homes with them. Not a necessary purchase; acquire where local interest demands.
Edell M. Schaefer
Bernikow continues the love story between a woman and a boxer begun in Bark If You Love Me (2000). "It is an odd failing of historians and biographers," writes Bernikow, "that the presence of a dog in a writer's life goes largely unnoticed by them." For Bernikow, Libro, her beloved boxer with the "imperfect swaggering gait," served as a brindle-colored Muse. As recounted in Bark, Libro entered the author's life unexpectedly. Abandoned or lost in New York City's Riverside Park in the late 1990s, Libro clearly came from a loving home. He was properly trained, at ease with apartment living, understood Spanish and had a special fondness for black men. Unable to locate Libro's owners, Bernikow reluctantly adopted the boxer; this concluding installment chronicles their nine years together, and Libro's eventual death. With Libro, Bernikow explored the city like never before, traveled across the country on book tours and learned to endure, and eventually befriend, "dog people." Balancing each other "like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza," the writer and her Muse even survived illness (Bernikow had cancer, Libro a ruptured tendon). But all good things come to an end, and the gimpy-legged boxer ultimately succumbed to a tumor. The author chronicles Libro's decline and her grief in language heartfelt and genuine: "For a year after Libro died, my greatest joys were small, daily ones-the garden, the friends, the books read and the books in the process of being written." She says that she "hated the empty apartment" and that she "never stopped opening the door carefully, as though a creature with amber eyes and a set of paws might be waiting just inside."Witty and unabashedly sentimental, which dog loverssurely won't mind.