Let's get the preliminaries out first. I received this book today at about 11:00am, and finished it in 6 hours. I would recommend not beginning this one unless you have a good chunk of time on your hands, because I can promise that you will be hard pressed to put it down.
What a beautiful story. A dog, Enzo, who describes himself as having a human soul, talks about his life with his family, and the various adventures, trials, and pure happiness they have shared. Much is outlined at the beginning, so I will not divulge many main details so as to spoil the flow of the novel.
In the most basic of terms, it was an emotional roller coaster. Enzo is hilarious at times with his frustrations at not being able to directly communicate with his master, his lack of thumbs, etc. He is incredibly smart and wise, and we could all learn a thing or two from the 'suggestions' he gives us humans as his story unfolds. As many times as there is the purest of joy, there are also stretches of darkness, tearing out hearts and bringing more than a few tears to my eyes.
I don't know what it is like to not have ever had a dog. I don't know how someone without this experience will react to reading it, but because it is such a great story, I am sure they will still feel the ups and downs. I will say, however, that this novel more likely than not hits a little bit more to the core of those of us lucky to have one of the loyal, four legged companions in our lives. Some of the things Enzo talks about, as well as the 'roles' he decides completely unselfishly to take on, are exactly what we feel sometimes is really going on for them. The dogs I have been so blessed to have were so smart, and while perhaps they lacked formal reasoning skills, they knew exactly what was going on at times when I was happy or sad, and acted in a way in which to share in my joy and make me even happier, or offer a warm nudge to try and offer their comfort to ease the pain. Truly the best friend a human could ever have.