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Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs – Jennifer Finney Boylan


My days have been numbered in dogs,

Jennifer Finney Boylan, a New York Times opinion columnist, often wrote about her dog, Indigo, in her column.

But if you ask me, the magic of dogs is not that their love for us is unconditional. What’s unconditional is the love that we have for them.

In her third (maybe fourth?) memoir, Good Boy, she explores life through the lens of her dogs.

From her childhood as Jimmy Boylan to her transition to Jennifer, she’s always had a dog (or several) pitter-pattering around.

Significant life events are redefined by the four-legged friends which joined her life in this latest memoir..

And so we became a family of three dalmatians, each one slightly more insane than the one that had come before.

Soooo…I haven’t read her previous memoirs so I was going into this book completely blind to her life and legacy.

And I’m really starting to think I should’ve read up on her more before starting this one.

The method of storytelling felt very…disjointed.

We’d jump forward in time, backwards in time and then would circle back to events that happened in previous chapters.

Considering I didn’t have a base knowledge on her life, I found this book difficult to follow. I was constantly struggling to understand what is happening or what happened.

In addition…I really was expecting more dogs in this one.

There are seven sections, each supposedly dog themed but less than 1/4 of each section actually talked about the dogs.

And even then, the dogs seemed like an after thought.

When you pick up a dog-themed memoir, there are a few things you’d expect – humorous anecdotes. poignant/reflective moments and a good cry once your favorite dog passes.

I felt nothing.

The dogs were so fleeting in this book that I barely had any time to connect (emotionally) to their story before we’d be jumping all around in the timeline again.

And even then the moments that were focused on felt…weird. Like long paragraphs about one of the dog’s goober-leaking eyes, or how Matt the Mutt kept humping everything or the first dalmatian would have huge/distracting boners.

It wasn’t the cute moments or the sweet moments I was expecting from a book titled “Good Boy”.

Maybe if I was a huge fan of hers, I’d love this extra sneak peek at her life (to round out her other 3-4 memoirs) but as a first-time reader of her….I left this one feeling dissatisfied and disappointed.

With thank you to Simon and Schuster and Jennifer Finney Boylan for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Interested in this one from Jennifer Finney Boylan? Buy it here:  Amazon

2 thoughts on “Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs – Jennifer Finney Boylan

  1. Doggone it…the cover looks so promising. Great review, Miranda!!!

    I haven’t read this book, but I already see dogs and their ability to love differently than the author. The beauty about our pets is that they teach us how to attempt to love unconditionally…which, let’s face it, is challenging because humans seem to put conditions on everything. While they’ve mastered unconditional love from the moment they are born, most humans struggle their entire lives to achieve unselfish, authentic, and constant (no matter what) kind-of-love with others.


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