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“…a love story between man and dog…you’ll cry at the end.”—USA Today
“One Good Dog belongs on the top of everyone’s reading list.”—Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)
"Nowhere can we see the potential for our own redemption more clearly than in the eyes of our dog. Susan Wilson illustrates this truth poignantly and beautifully in this story of second chances."—Tami Hoag, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Secrets to the Grave
"Fans of Marley and Me will find a new dog to cheer for in Wilson's (Beauty ) insightful heart-tugger...Chance tells his story in his own words, which makes his mistreatment and return to the fighting pit powerfully disturbing. Combined with Wilson's unflinching portrayal of Adam's struggle to overcome his past, Old Yeller 's got nothing on this very good man and his dog story."—Publishers Weekly
"[One Good Dog] is a finely wrought story of second chances and also of the power of the human/canine bond, the amazing and myriad ways in which dogs can touch and make better people’s lives. As Chance himself so aptly puts it, 'What else could I have done? I’m only canine, I had to help'.”—Bark Magazine
"[One Good Dog] evokes both laughter and tears, but the ending assures you that humans and dogs are capable of redemption."—Library Journal
“Susan Wilson's evocative and deeply moving novel reminds us that even the most unlikely human can also find redemption, sometimes, with a little help from a canine friend." — Melissa Jo Peltier, New York Times bestselling co-author of Cesar’s Way
“One Good Dog equals one great book!”—-Rita Mae Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Purrfect Murder
“One Good Dog will make you cry, will make you laugh, will make you feel things more than you thought possible—-and it will make you believe in second chances.”—Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors and A Wolf at the Table
“One Good Dog is a wonderful novel of healing and redemption.”—Spencer Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of Dog on It
“Anybody who has ever loved a dog—-or been ‘a pack of two,’ as Chance so aptly puts it —-will love One Good Dog. . . . I hope Susan Wilson sits and stays—-forever.”—Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of SAVE ME
“One Good Dog is a terrific book that held me from beginning to end!”—Iris Johansen, New York Times #1 bestselling author of EVE
“I was so moved by Susan Wilson’s writing: her understanding of the lost, in the language of the wild.”—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Blue Sea For Beginners
“Sophie.” Adam March doesn’t look up from the rectangle of paper in his hand. His tone is, as always, even, and no louder than it should be to reach across his executive-size office, through the open mahogany door, and to the ears of his latest personal assistant. On the pink rectangle of a “While You Were Out” memo slip, in Sophie’s preferred lilac-colored ink and written in her loopy handwriting, are three simple words that make no sense to Adam March. Your sister called. Not possible. Time and date of call: yesterday afternoon, while he was enduring what he hoped was the last of the meetings he was going to have to hold before today’s main event. A meeting in which he’d given a combination pep talk and take-no-prisoners mandate to his handpicked team.
Adam flips the pink note back and forth against the knuckles of his left hand. This is a mistake. Sophie has made a mistake. Not her first. Lately he’s been noticing these little slips of judgment, of carelessness, of Sophie’s slightly less than deferential attitude. As if she’s not a subordinate, but a peer. Too many late nights when the jacket comes off, the tie is loosened, and the sleeves are rolled up. Too many weary hours leaning over her as she works on her computer, struggling to make every document perfect. She’s made a common mistake: Being in the trenches together doesn’t mean that they are friends, that he will overlook sloppiness.
Adam closes his eyes, takes a deep breath. The most important day of his career and it’s already started out badly.
His alarm hadn’t gone off. Which meant he hadn’t had time for his run around the gravel jogging paths of his gated neighborhood, which meant he had lost that thirty minutes of “me time” he needed so desperately before a day filled with meetings, conference calls, at least one confrontation with middle management, and, at the end of the day, a dinner party his wife, Sterling, had planned in order to befriend the newest neighbors, the Van Arlens, before someone else got them. The Van Arlens, it was believed, had connections to the best people. People who were useful to anyone interested in social advancement and really good schools for their children. Which basically summed up Sterling.
Adam had no objection to a get-to-know-you dinner; he just preferred not to have them on the same day as so much else was going on in his life. But then, if they waited until he had a slow day, they’d still be living in Natick and their daughter wouldn’t be enjoying the connections that would serve her for the rest of her life. It was hard work, laying the groundwork for social/business/education/recreational pathways for a teenage daughter who greeted him with ill-disguised sullenness when he made the effort to show up for one or another of her endless sports in time for the final score.
When Adam thought about having kids, he’d pictured himself the Ward Cleaver of his family—wise, loving, adored. Ariel hadn’t been wryly mischievous like Beaver, or devoted like Wally. Adam hadn’t heard an understandable phrase out of her mouth in years, every mumble directed at the table, or muttered behind her long blond hair. The only time he saw her face was when he attended her horse shows, when her hair was scraped back and under her velvet-covered helmet. But then she blended in with the other girls, all pink cheeks and tight breeches and blue coats. Sometimes he rooted for the wrong girl/horse combination. To say nothing of the fact that all the horses looked alike, too. To Adam, horse shows were a tortuous and endless replication of the same blue coat, black helmet, brown horse racing around the course, and then the girl crying when a rail was knocked or a time fault incurred or because the horse was crazy, lazy, lame, or just plain stupid.
Except for Ariel’s drive to become some kind of horse-jumping champion, a goal at which Adam had thrown great handfuls of money, she was an enigma to him. Yet this is why he worked so hard. This and Sterling’s four-carat dinner ring and her personal fitness gurus, one at each of the three homes they owned—Sylvan Fields, Wellington, Florida, and Martha’s Vineyard—the support of an increasingly large staff and their illegal cousins; and the cadre of financial managers to make sure he didn’t pay more taxes than he should. They, unlike most of the rest of the people he employed, were very, very good.
At age forty-six, Adam March had found himself, on this overcast morning, pressing his forehead against the bathroom mirror and wishing he didn’t have to go to work. Not only had his alarm failed him but the housekeeper had failed—again—to have the made-to-order granola he needed. Nowhere in the giant pantry could he put his hands on the imported cereal he preferred. All he could find was the crap Ariel ate. With a childhood fed on cornflakes, now he could afford the best in breakfast food, so was it too much to ask that he find his granola when he wanted it? The sheer cost of importing it from Norway had to be justified by his eating it every day. But beyond that, without it, his bowels wouldn’t function, and if that system also failed him, Adam knew that he was in danger of really losing his temper, and it might be that this housekeeper would be the biggest loser once he was done with her. Which, of course, he couldn’t even consider until after this dinner party. To fire the stupid bitch today would mean that Sterling’s ire would overshadow his, until his temper and his bowels would shrink to a pipsqueak size.
Sterling, blond, whippet-thin, and sleeping the peaceful sleep of the person in charge of everything, was a force to be reckoned with, and Adam wasn’t about to unleash that power on a day so patently important to her. Not for her own sake, she so often said, but for his sake. His advancement, their only child’s advancement. It was social warfare out there, and Sterling provided the leadership of a general over her troops. “We have to be seen; we have to support the right charities.” Their name even appeared as supporters on a PBS documentary series. “We need to attend the right concerts. If you intend to succeed, that’s the price you have to pay.” That was but one of Sterling’s cheerleading themes. Some might say that Adam March had already succeeded. What more could he want? Some men might want strings of letters following their names, others the glory that came from leadership in the arts, the sciences, the political arena. Adam lusted after three letters: C E O. Chief Executive Officer. Such an achievement was no longer dependent on moving up in the ranks of promotions and cultivating years in the same company. It was more of a hopscotch of leaps across and over, one foot down, now two, from corporation to corporation, allowing himself to be seduced away from one major executive role to another. Manager, Vice President of Acquisitions or Division. A rise that came with a move to a bigger house in a better—read: more exclusive—neighborhood, another vacation home where he’d spend most of his time on his phone, too afraid to be out of touch for more than the time it took to use the bathroom, more BlackBerrys. More expense. Some days Adam felt like he didn’t have two coins to rub together. All of his salary and bonuses seemed to be absorbed into this machine of ambition. Still, the ripe red cherry of the top post was just out of reach. But not for long. After today, Adam’s elevation to the ultimate spot on the ladder at Dynamic Industries would be secure. President and CEO.
But this morning, all Adam had wanted for himself was a bowl of Norwegian granola and a fucking run through the contrived landscape of his most recent gated neighborhood. He wanted his “me time,” thirty minutes to call his own, leaving the Bluetooth behind, keeping his head down and his eyes only on the path so that he didn’t have to wave at neighbors or their help. His best ideas often came to him during that thirty minutes.
There was only one thing stopping Adam from just taking his run and going into work a bit late. He held himself and his staff to a rigorous standard of punctuality. Adam March entered his office at precisely seven-thirty every day. Not one minute before or after. It was a source of incredible satisfaction to him that people could set their watches by him. Adam believed that timeliness was an art and a science. Despite the ten-mile commute and all the variables of traffic, Adam arrived on time. And woe betide the staffer in his group who wasn’t there to greet him. Adam required simple things of people, the sine qua non of his expectation: Be on time. The groups that wandered into the building here and there, untaxed by punctuality, smacked of a basic sloppiness he would not allow in his.
Adam stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, looking at an attractively craggy face, his morning shadow of dark beard firming up a jaw that had only just begun to soften. He stared into his own cold brown eyes, eyes that had earned him the nickname, “Dead Eye.” A nickname he didn’t find offensive, but grudgingly affectionate. A face with gravitas. A face suited to the take-no-prisoners deal maker he had become.
If there was a shadow of an angry, grizzled man in the mirror, Adam swept it away with a brushful of French milled shaving soap.
Adam runs a hand down his silk tie, tucks the strange note into his jacket pocket. Sophie is still AWOL. He stares at her empty chair and, for the first time in many years, wonders about his sister.
Sophie’s armless secretary’s chair is cocked at an angle, as if its occupant weighs more on one side. Her computer screen with the Microsoft logo drifting around speaks of her having been on the computer opening up the e-mails that she will either forward to him or to his underlings or delete as unworthy. It isn’t enough that she’s in the building. Sophie needs to be at her desk when he arrives.
Adam lays the offending piece of memo paper down and opens up his old-fashioned top-loading briefcase. He can’t remember what he’s looking for. There she is, slinking back to her desk with a giant paper coffee cup in one hand, a pastry in the other. Even from deep in his office, Adam can see that she has a flake of icing on her chin. Now Sophie really is testing him. Instead of dropping everything and grabbing her notebook, she leans over her computer keyboard and taps the mouse. She is checking her e-mail. On his time. Outrageous. Sophie knows this is an important day. What can be more important to her than getting her marching orders from him? He’s really getting tired of her insubordination.
Your sister called.
Excerpted from One Good Dog by Susan Wilson.
Copyright 2010 by Susan Wilson.
Published in March 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
2. Why do you think the author used the first person in telling Chance’s story?
3. There are two protagonists in this story. How would the reading experience change if we saw only one side?
4. What is Adam’s initial attitude toward Chance?
5. How does that attitude reflect his attitude in general and the situation he’s in?
6. When Adam breaks down, what motivates Chance to approach him?
7. What does Chance think of his “career” as a fighter?
8. Should Adam forgive his father?
9. What role does Gina play in Adam’s personal growth?
10. Describe Adam’s relationship with his daughter Ariel. Does his childhood impact this relationship, and if so, how?
11. Does Adam relate at all to the boys he encounters on the street? How so?
12. What are Adam’s three sins and does he overcome them?
13. In this story, men are living on the streets as well as dogs. Are you more likely to support animal shelters or homeless shelters?
14. Conventional wisdom believes that fighting pit bulls cannot be rehabilitated. In many cities, a dog that has been known to fight is automatically put down. Do you think that a character like Chance is realistic? Does he change your mind about pit bulls?
15. In the end, has Adam been redeemed?
I read a lot and my all time favorite book is The Art of Racing in the Rain. All other books I've read since then have not come close to the feelings, emotions, heart-wrenching as well as happy, that I experienced with The Art of Racing in the Rain.....UNTIL.....I read One Good Dog.
This is an excellent book. Certain chapters are told by a man and the other chapters are told by a dog. And both man and dog grow so much during the course of their story. This is an amazing and excellent, excellent book. Do yourself a favor and read this one! It has become a very close 2nd favorite out of all the books I've loved.
144 out of 157 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 19, 2010
ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson was a great read one that really brought tears to my eyes. Two souls who have become lost now have to find their way back. They find one another and together they go threw ups and downs testing each other but in the end find that they have found their home where they belong.
54 out of 61 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 13, 2012
I got three quarters of the way through this book intending to give it a 4 star rating. It is difficult to read about the dog fighting world and after I struggled to get past the details in the beginning of the book, it comes up again towards the end. You are lead to believe that this poor dog will never encounter the extreme cruelty again, until the unexpected, disturbing twist at the end of the book. I would have never read this book if I had any idea that this poor dog would have to go through it twice! What makes it even harder to read this is that he is describing it! This is so upsetting & I wish I had seen a review that warned me about how upsetting this would be to read. I can't understand why this got such high ratings. I would have never read it and I find it disturbing that this author could put such graphic detail into this story. It was so sad that this dog had to endure the cruelty of dog fighting most of his life. How can you write about him having to go through it again at the end of the book? Way to sad &
disturbing for me!
32 out of 39 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2012
If you loved "The Art of Racing In The Rain" you will love "One Good Dog"! If you have ever loved a dog, you will love "One Good Dog"! If you have ever been loved by a dog, you will love "One Good Dog"! "One Good Dog" by Susan Wilson is one good book!
26 out of 32 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2013
The story itself was very good. However, I feel the dog fighting parts were much too graphic. I am a sensitive dog lover, and while I knew this was a story about dog fighting, I had not realized the scenes would be so graphic and disturbing. I honestly was very upset. Had I known, I certainly WOULD NOT have read this book.
24 out of 25 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2012
I bought this book because it was on sale. I am so glad I did. This book is written in the 1st person and animal. This is a great voice for pit bulls and any animal lover should be sure to add this book to their favorite list. If you have a nook I think I can share.
16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2010
Posted July 21, 2011
This book is so true, a dog well be with you no matter what happens in your life and you will love your dog with uncondtional love who stays by your side. If you lose your dog one way or another, it leaves a huge empty space in your heart, life and soul. Every dog owner should read this book, not only to know the love that a dog can give, but the love you can give a dog that has been so "hurt" by the world.
15 out of 20 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This book held my interest throughout. Don't want to reveal ending, but it kept me turning pages and losing sleep during many chapters to find out just what was going to happen next. It wouldn't be hard to relate to the main human in the story as to how we become so wrapped up in ourselves, work, etc. that we can't see how far detached we have become from the real world. The dog just reinforced my belief that pit bulls learn their bad behaviour from bad human beings. Treated with love and affection they are "Good Dogs."
All in all, this is a book that I will keep in my library and read many more times.
10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2010
I believe this book should be required reading by anyone with any influence over the enforcement of harsh penalties for anyone associated with dogfighting.
That said, I am an active member of a dog rescue organization and still found this book taught me quite a bit. Excellent all the way across the board.
9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2010
Reminiscent in a way of The Art of Racing in the Rain, but with its own distinct voice and message, One Good Dog is One Great Read. Its about redemption and loyalty, self-awareness and devotion, responsibility and commitment, and all those other sappy themes you could think of, but expressed with a sincere and heartfelt eloquence that will touch your very soul. If this is your cup of tea (or bowl of kibbles), I would also recommend anything by Spencer Quinn (the Chet and Bernie series) or David Rosenfelt (Andy Carpenter and Tara). While both of those are somewhat more lighthearted, they are clear evidence that going to the dogs is not such a bad thing afterall.
9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2011
This book intrigued me, since I am a dog mom of 3 four-footed friends, and the sample sounded interesting. It started a bit quirky, but I soon got into the rhythm of the book..touching, nerve-wracking, but not predictable.. couldn't put down until I finished it...a godd read!
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 28, 2012
Fantastic read for dog lovers! Even if you aren't an animal lover you'll really enjoyed this book. Certainly a tear jerker - sad and happy tears. A real testimony to how God blesses us through His creatures.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 14, 2012
Such a great story line you won't want to put the book down. Although you may read through many tears don't give up read to the end. This book is a must read for dog lovers.i
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 27, 2012
It is a really good story. I loved the way the dog told part and the man told part! Then it became a flop in the last chapters at the time he lost his dog ! The story flopped! Big time no story line on how horible he felt, didnt talk about how desprate he would have been to find his dog no story about looking for his dog! Knowing them 2 men were trying to get his dog! Should have had a chapter on trying to find his dog! Then you flew through the last chapters like you were board with the book and just wanted to get finished writing it ! The end was a flop!!
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2012
Has an intersting story line but I stopped reading it because of all the bad language. It could have been written without that and been a very good book.
3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2011
This is one of the very best books I've ever read! It starts out a little slow but stay with it...it is so worth the read!
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 4, 2011
Posted July 21, 2010
Really enjoyed this book. This writer has an easy writing style and tells a good story. I loved the parallel stories of the man and the dog. I loved hearing the story in two voices: human and dog. A great book for all dog lovers, even if you are not a fan of pit bulls. It would be nice if the dogs really were thinking the things that the author made up. I feel bad for those pit bull dogs, people can be so mean.....I am not going to give the story away, but you should read it as you will not be disappointed.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.