Book Review: Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

September 20, 2011
Title: Following Atticus
Author: Tom Ryan
Genre: Non Fiction, dogs
Year Published: 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: I received this book as an ARC at Book Expo America. I could not resist the cover.

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, And An Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is one of the most delightful books I have read in a long time.

Atticus M. Finch, partly named after the hero lawyer in To Kill A Mockingbird, is a Miniature Schnauzer who changes Tom Ryan’s world. Tom’s life publishing a muckraking newspaper in Newburyport, Massachusetts is only partly fulfilling. Tom loves his work but is lonely and his life has no real direction. Tom’s mother died when he was seven, and he is not close to his father and eight siblings.

Tom had acquired a Miniature Schnauzer, Max. When Max died, he was determined to get another dog of the same breed. Tom looked at dozens of photos emailed to him from the dog breeder, and he chose Atticus because he was different. Little did he know just how different Atticus would prove to be.

One day Tom and Atticus went hiking with three of Tom’s brothers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where they had spent some vacation time as children. Atticus proved to be a natural born mountain climber. When Atticus reaches the top of a mountain, he would sit and gaze at the stunning scenery around him.

The experience was so enjoyable that Tom and Atticus return to the White Mountains on a regular basis. At first, Tom and Atticus start to make a habit of climbing the mountains because they enjoy the tranquility and peacefulness. They also love being together and share a very strong bond, Tom always holding Atticus in his arms after they reach the top of a mountain.

When a friend of Tom’s dies of cancer, however, Tom decides that they will climb all forty-eight of the four-thousand-foot peaks twice – in the winter -- to raise money for cancer.

Tom and Atticus brave blizzards, Lyme disease, and incipient blindness to conquer the mountains. Tom also starts to become closer to his elderly father through his mountain-climbing, something that his father appreciates because of his own love of the mountains.

As word spreads about the mountain climbing dog and the overweight, middle aged newspaperman, Tom and Atticus – especially Atticus – become media stars. When confronted with tragedies and near-tragedies, will Tom and Atticus persevere?

This has immediately become one of my favorite books. I am a sucker for animal stories, and I have read many mountain climbing books. This is my favorite. There were times I was laughing out loud at some of their adventures, and other times when I cried.

Please read Following Atticus! If you like animals, you will love Atticus! It is being published today, September 20, 2011. If you click on the badge below, you can order it immediately.


You can also read the Tom and Atticus blog by reading here.

2 comments:

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