4 out of 4 stars
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Walks with Sam by David W. Berner is the story of a man and his dog who bond over their months of walking together. The author finds himself in a changing season of life when his family takes in Sam. Berner just turned 60 years old and was partaking in a sabbatical from work as a teacher. This combination of events seemingly aroused the author to contemplate aging, purpose, and many more of life's deeper issues.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. In addition to the book being well-edited, it also flowed naturally from one walk to the next, leaving us with simple yet profound life lessons with each. I felt a near-instant connection with both the author and his dog. And I naturally related to the quips he told about past dogs and their influence on his life as I reflected on the dogs I've had over the years. Dogs have such a fantastic ability to teach us lessons about life, and I'm grateful Berner took the time to categorize just a few of those lessons and place them neatly in this book.
My favorite part about this quick read is how each walk had a powerful and relatable message. For example, in a walk focused on the changes in his children over the years, the author writes, "Change, it has been said, is the price we pay for becoming." In the final section focused on finding who we are, the author muses over the quote, "You are not who you think you are. You are what you do."
At times, the messages the author laid out felt very philosophical. On several occasions, I found myself setting down the book to spend a few minutes pondering how the lessons of change, or solidarity, or freedom applied to my life.
My only challenge with this book is that I experienced formatting issues with the Kindle version that detracted from my ability to read the story fluidly. The headers and page numbers were not in alignment with the pages or stories, and as such, I had a tough time getting through the first few pages until I realized it was just a lousy formatting issue. Hopefully, it will be resolved so others can more easily enjoy this story.
I think this book can appeal to a vast audience, but dog owners may draw a closer connection to the author's lessons. Berner speaks about Sam and his affection toward her in such a loving, understanding way that one can only relate to if they've felt it with a dog before. One thing is for sure, if you own a dog, you'll want to hop up and take them for a long, slow walk once you read this book.
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