My Life with Snoopy is going to tear apart the heartstrings of animal lovers everywhere. The author, Joey Camen, is best known for his stand-up comedy and voiceover work but in his debut novel he will cause readers to shed more than a few tears as he recounts his memories of life with his shelter dog, Snoopy. It is the iconic tale of a boy (or a man) and his dog – beautiful, entertaining and immensely enjoyable.
It’s important to realize before reading My Life with Snoopy that isn’t a novel, it isn’t a fictional story and it’s even truly an autobiography or a memoir. It reads like a short non-fiction book about a man coping with the loss of his best friend; it is almost blog-like. There are typos and asides as well as moments where the flow breaks as Joey breaks to mention his feelings or beliefs on veterinary medicine and treatment. If this was intended as a formal book or novel it would require an editor to finesse the writing and streamline the content. It is actually only intended to tell the story of a shelter dog who changed a man’s life, to bring awareness to the plight of the shelter dogs and to encourage people to consider a shelter dog when adopting their next pet. In terms of its intentions, it is a success.
The beginning of the book, Joey’s life before Snoopy, is actually quite hilarious at times. Growing up without a traditional pet (a cat or a dog) Joey sometimes improvised at finding an animal companion. His first “pet” was actually a small collection of slimy, smelly, snails that he brought in from outside. He eventually compromised with his mother and traded the snails for goldfish which then died rather abruptly (as goldfish sometimes do). After an unfortunate experience with a dog in Detroit Joey was a bit disinterested in dogs, until he adopted Snoopy.
One look at the sweet face on the cover and it is easy to see how Snoopy helped Joey overcome his distrust of dogs and learn to love our canine friends. Joey and Snoopy shared adventures and were the best of friends for thirteen years. In a way, and as depicted in this book, Joey and Snoopy saved each other. It is a bond that only a dog-owner can understand but one that is often too powerful for words. Any pet owner will acknowledge that there truly are no words to describe the ache that comes with losing a devoted and beloved pet; the loss of Snoopy is, for lack of a better word, heartbreaking. After reading “My Life with Snoopy” all I could think about was cuddling my own two sweet little pups and cherishing the moments I have to love and be loved by the most devoted and selfless of animals.
Please, follow Joey’s lead and if you’re considering adopting a pet – consider a shelter dog.
Review by Ashley LaMarClosed the Cover