Overall Opinion and Thoughts

Discuss the September 2016 Book of the Month, A Spiritual Dog: Bear by J. Wesley Porter.
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Overall Opinion and Thoughts

Post by bookowlie » 02 Sep 2016, 17:49

Do not read this topic unless you have read the September 2016 Book of the Month, A Spiritual Dog: Bear by J. Wesley Porter, because it may contain spoilers.

What is your overall opinion of A Spiritual Dog: Bear? Would you recommend the book to others? What did you like best? What did you like least?

Please submit your actual rating of the book using the Bookshelves page for A Spiritual Dog: Bear.
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Post by gali » 03 Sep 2016, 00:50

I enjoyed the book overall and found it ok. It was a quick read, but I found the language a bit dry and flat. I liked the pictures the best and found the story very touching. As a dog's owner I can relate. However, the book fell short of my expectations. It is a nice memento for the author's family, but I am not sure kids will find it equally interesting.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 03 Sep 2016, 13:43

I had bought this book a while back, for my nephew, after reading a review on here. He read it to me over Skype, so I did see the pictures, etc but did not actually have the book in hand. He thought it was okay but a bit babyish. I'd have to concur with him, it was just okay but the real life pictures were nice. A bit to the point, would have like it to be more expressive. I'd thought it be for older kids but it's really more at the prek-6/7 y.o. level, with perhaps parents reading it to the kids.
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Post by hsimone » 06 Sep 2016, 09:58

I just finished reading this book, and also agree with others here. It was okay. I think gali's right - it is a nice momento for the family, but it was dry. Also, I felt there wasn't much elaborated here and felt there could have been more added to assist the reader in connecting with the story. I did like the pictures that were added because it felt more realistic and contributed well to story.

It's unclear to me if children would actually enjoy this read since it is so dry and a little too matter-of-factly. If I never owned a dog (which I do and love her to pieces) and was on the fence, I don't think this book would convince me to adopt one. Therefore, I give it a 2/4 stars rating.
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Post by bookowlie » 06 Sep 2016, 10:39

I read this book several months ago for review purposes. The best part of the book was the emotional element - the author's love for Bear shined through the pages. However, I agree with the other comments about the flat writing. Like Gali, I felt that the story was more of a private keepsake for the author's family. Since the book is not a private scrapbook and is being sold to the general public, I think it would have been more interesting if the story wasn't so choppy. It seemed like each page was a short comment relating to a photo, although I did get an overall sense of Bear's personality and interests.
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Post by anneloretrujillo » 08 Sep 2016, 10:32

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by this book. I think the idea behind it is great, but I don't think it was written as well as it could have been. I also agree with everyone saying that the content is dry. I don't really think I could have gotten my nieces to stay engaged with this story. I do really like the pictures. It think it makes the story more relatable. I also think that it is great that it is a true story. Again, I was just disappointed by the writing.

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Post by Megwe85 » 09 Sep 2016, 17:10

Spiritual Dog is the first "Book of the Month" that I've read. As a teacher and parent, I've read my fair share of books about pets - both fiction and non-fiction. This book was basically a timeline of events in an adopted dog's life and none of them were particularly interesting or unique, in my opinion. This writing would be better fit for a family photo album - specifically Bear's family - and would be most interesting to them I'm sure.

Behind this book is an author who cared enough to write this story and get it published. That is what I liked best. The writing was poor. I paid for the Kindle version so I'm not sure if the hard copy is any different, or edited. The poor editing and lack of uniqueness are the issues that bothered me most. I would not recommend this book.

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Post by kimmyschemy06 » 14 Sep 2016, 06:24

I find this book very emotional and touching despite its length. It seems as if it was written solely as a tribute to the author's beloved pet. Though I'm not much into pets, I appreciate the effort dedicated to the writing of this book. Finally, I enjoyed the pictures a lot and I think I would enjoy this book simply by looking at those pictures.

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 14 Sep 2016, 16:16

The book is in need of some editing, but the story was very sweet. Like others, I really enjoyed the pictures. I don't currently live in Killeen, but I do own a house there, and the photos lead me to believe that the author lives in my neighborhood!
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Post by Rachel1019 » 21 Sep 2016, 11:49

I agree with LivreAmour217's first statement that the book needs editing. It is always distracting to me when a book is full of errors. I loved the pictures that were included. They helped to give me a real sense of who the dog was and how much the dog meant to the family. If I had a child who lost a pet, then I would certainly discuss it with them and maybe get a book for them to learn how to cope, but that would not be this book. While this is a very sweet book, it is (as some people have already stated) a very child-like book.

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Post by Kia » 22 Sep 2016, 17:06

I also have to agree that I found the writing a little bit dry. I also noticed several mistakes throughout the book. While the pictures were sweet, the writing style seems like it would be better suited for cartoon pictures or even cardboard books. I did think it was a cute story, but I'm still confused as to where the "spiritual" comes into play.
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Post by MarisaRose » 23 Sep 2016, 21:14

I thought this book was cute and visually stimulating, however, I felt it lacked really emotion. As a dog owner, the connection between a dog and their family is incredibly strong. I didn't really get any significant feelings from this book and that was a bit disappointing.
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Post by braver » 30 Sep 2016, 09:07

MarisaRose wrote:I thought this book was cute and visually stimulating, however, I felt it lacked really emotion. As a dog owner, the connection between a dog and their family is incredibly strong. I didn't really get any significant feelings from this book and that was a bit disappointing.
In addition to agreeing with others that the writing was choppy and dry, I think this is my biggest complaint.
as a fellow dog owner, reading about dogs dying usually punches me right in the feels, but this was just too clinical and didn't elicit much of a response.

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Post by Rachaelamb1 » 02 Oct 2016, 20:00

I was hesitant to get this book because I was not sure what the author meant by a "spiritual" dog. I guess the wording made me think it was going to be about reincarnation or something.
I like that the book takes place in Texas and the overall concept is good, but I don't think the writing style will hold a child's interest. Also, I really dislike when a children's book has grammatical errors. They're so short that it should not be that difficult or expensive to get someone to edit them which just seems sloppy.

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Post by yayramabel » 05 Oct 2016, 00:52

As I opened "Bear: A Spiritual Dog," I was very excited to dive in. I really wanted to love this book! Unfortunately, although I wasn't sure what to expect, the book simply didn't speak to me. I am a dog lover, have had pets all my life and my two dogs are my babies, so stories about dogs or pets in general really get to me. But this book, although a nice memento for the family -with sweet pictures, as others have said-, failed to move me.

Not only was I not impressed or affected by this book, but there were several aspects that actually bothered me, which I'm sure are part of the reason why I didn't shed a tear reading this. The biggest offenders were:
-Grammatical errors: There were way too many of these... I mean, the book is very short - so, no excuse!
-The writing: as others have said, it was dry, almost clinical. It felt a bit robotic, there was no rhythm or emotion to it. I thought it was going to be quirky or funny, or emotional, etc... but, it wasn't.

All in all, to me, it was uninspired.

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