Official Review: Shellbee's Story

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Official Review: Shellbee's Story

Post by MarisaRose » 18 Jan 2018, 15:15

[Following is an official review of "Shellbee's Story" by Jennifer Flynn-Campbell, PhD.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Shellbee’s Story by Jennifer Flynn-Campbell, PhD is a collection of letters written by Shellbee Ann Campbell, a black Labrador. In her collection of letters, Shellbee recalls many fond memories of her life. From the day she was brought home by her human litter-mates, to puppy school, meeting human and canine friends, going on adventures to various vacations with her mommy and pappy, and undergoing some medical procedures, Shellbee tells all with her candid and optimistic voice.

The author masterfully captures the essence of a canine narrator. From the very first page, I never questioned that Shellbee herself was narrating this story. Shellbee's simplistic, yet complex thoughts and feeling-driven actions give the reader the impression that the narrative is told through the eyes of a dog. I was captivated by Shellbee’s optimistic and bubbly tone; in fact, many times Shellbee reminded me of my very own dog, Luna. I loved how the author was able to successfully convey Shellbee’s narration; I couldn’t stop smiling while I read Shellbee’s words.

In addition to Shellbee’s authentic voice, the book personifies Shellbee to a degree that is realistic without being overdone. Shellbee’s sometimes scatterbrained narrative, canine attitude and basic understanding of her ‘human litter-mates’ all reminded me of my life with my own dog. There were so many ‘aha!’ moments in this story where I knew exactly what Shellbee was experiencing because I’d had the same emotional experience with my canine companion. The realism of Shellbee's story created a touching tone throughout the narrative. Anyone who has ever lived with a dog, or had a true connection with one, will easily relate to Shellbee’s experiences and smile at her recollection of various events.

Told through a series of letters written by Shellbee herself, there’s no defined storyline throughout the book. Each letter focuses on different experiences or aspects of Shellbee’s life, covering her life from the time she was brought home as a puppy, but not necessarily in chronological order. Unfortunately, this format was the book’s only downfall. Although Shellbee’s voice is strong and resonates throughout each and every word of every letter, there was nothing that made me want to keep reading after I’d finished one of her letters. Some letters stood out far more than others, like Shellbee’s descriptions of her job as a therapy dog, while others felt mundane at times and repetitive in some cases. This book may have been more successful if it was written in the style of a continuous story, much like The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Similar to Shellbee’s Story, Stein captured the essence of a canine narrator; however, Stein was much more successful at conveying his narrator’s life in a story-like narrative instead of via seemingly random snippets.

For anyone who has ever fallen in love with a dog, this book will touch your heart and remind you of many of your fondest experiences with your canine friend. I had a difficult time rating this book; I considered a 3 star rating at first because of the format of the book and the overall lack of anticipation from one letter to the next. However, there were many aspects I could relate to within Shellbee’s narrative, and Shellbee herself was a wonderful narrator. Further, this book evoked a lot of emotion in me, and I have to give the author credit for writing such a moving story, despite my negative critiques. Thus, I give Shellbee’s Story 4 out of 4 stars. Dog lovers who are interested in reading from the perspective of a canine companion will adore Shellbee’s storytelling and get a lot of joy from reading this book.

Shellbee's Story
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Post by Malo niko » 19 Jan 2018, 07:37

Interesting book but contains unclear scenes from the extract provides.

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Post by kandscreeley » 19 Jan 2018, 08:20

I love this concept. Animals are so fun, and each one has their own personality. This sounds like an easy and lighthearted read! I'll put it on my list. Thanks.
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Post by Katerina Katapodi » 19 Jan 2018, 10:53

Due to the fact that narrator, here Shellbee is a very educated person, with PhD, we can judge that she wrote perfectly her book, being a book of 100% emotions, feeling and moving! Although it's claimed that the book lacks cohesion, mainly in the series of letters between them, the whole meaning of the book is far above this small ''inconvenience'' for reader.
The book is destined to those who particularly love animals and know how to communicate with them. In this case the dog seems to behave like a human, without any unsuccessful communication, as animal. Indeed, the dog, that is so much loved by author, can easily communicate with its boss (here Shellbee), and has a plenty of emotions to give her.
Either it's a puppy, or a bigger dog, or a cat for example, this book can be comphrehended by those who love animals. I am one of them, knowing how much emotional status of animals, can be higher than the one of humans many times. Animals, understand much more than we think, they only don't speak. They consolate their boss at difficult moments, show tenderness to him/her, and have often supreme feelings! I am one of them, living for almost all my life so far, with dogs and cats at home. It's terrible for soul to lose an animal, that has proven to love you, or you've showed to it your love as human as well as gratitude! And if a beloved animal dies, due aging, and boss as human is still alive, it's very painful, Thank God, good animals can be replaced afterwards, with some of this kind, and it's true, that the next animal, you'll take home, to replace the previous one, can equally love you as a new boss, if you show to it, the same feelings you had for the previous one!
For all this, I give to Shellbee 4 stars for this book, wishing her all the best in the future, as a sensible narrator, that writes rather with heart, instead of a ''pen''...!..

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Post by Kat Berg » 19 Jan 2018, 20:42

I imagine that dog lovers would highly appreciate this book! Not quite sure it is my style, but if I were in the right mood, well, then maybe. I am glad you enjoyed it, however. :) Thanks for the review.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 19 Jan 2018, 22:40

Beautiful, just beautiful! I love the way the author could think through the mind-set of a dog and enforce a lot positivity and happiness, not only it gives a positive mindset to the reader it will also be a happy-read-time. Love it and love the idea of the book. I believe one can truly enjoy reading this book. Thank you!
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Post by Luigi Mendoza » 20 Jan 2018, 11:35

i love the concept but there are several scene that gives me a hard time to understand

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Post by CNWaweru » 20 Jan 2018, 19:23

That was a nice review. Learnt so much from it!

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Post by Darakhshan Nazir » 23 Jan 2018, 00:58

I love dogs and wanna have one. But sadly, not allowed to have one. I am really loving the overall review. And would love to read this novel .
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Post by CatInTheHat » 24 Jan 2018, 21:18

I've always wanted to know what my dog is thinking. My son would probably love this book.
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Post by KamalK » 12 Feb 2018, 23:42

I love dogs and this book from the point of view of one sounds very interesting to me. I am glad you found it good. I will read it too.

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Post by bookowlie » 13 Feb 2018, 10:34

Another insightful review as always. :) I'm glad you were able to appreciate the wonderful aspects of the book, even though there was not much propelling the story forward. I applaud the author since it's not easy to capture the first-person perpective of a dog.
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Post by gali » 14 Feb 2018, 07:58

A book written from the POV of a dog in the formats of letters sounds lovely. It is great that the author manages to capture the essence of the dog, and that she is realistic without being overdone. Too bad the unique format was also the book's downfall. I read and loved "The Art of Racing in the Rain", so it is a pity the author was less successful at conveying her narrator’s life. Still, it sounds like she did a goo job based on your review. Thank you for the review!
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Post by mindyg123 » 14 Feb 2018, 08:09

A dog tells her story through a series of letters. This sounds like an awesome read for a dog lover such as myself. A lot of aha moments where it helps you see through your dogs eyes. I can't to read it grabbed my #free copy thanks and congrats on being BOTD
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Post by britt13 » 14 Feb 2018, 08:15

I absolutely love dogs but this does not interest me. I like to think about what my dog is thinking and how she reacts to different situations but that is not something I want to read about someone else's dog. That being said it sounds like this book is enjoyed so that's good!

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