Alison Hodgson got in touch with me out of the blue to see if I’d write a back blurb for this book, then sent an advance reader copy.
Pug List deals with a heavy subject (arson) in a light way (family love and insanity exacerbated by furry love). It’s published by Zondervan, a Christian house, and it’s inspiring without being in-your-face overt. She deals with questions of love, safety, commitment, amidst sweet family stories about dogs, kids, and trying to get to work and school when you have nothing to wear–literally.
By turns sweet and terrifying, Hodgson takes us on a journey through the rebuilding of a house and a home. Regaining trust, recovering personalities, and adding a fur baby to the family on the way, she talks without sentimentality about the love of God for us, the love of mothers for families, and the love between kids and dogs. This memoir is a charmer.
In the interest of full disclosure, Little Bookstore is mentioned about 2/3 through the book, because Alison had just finished reading LB and was struck by the section recounting an encounter with a fire victim. Alison had a similar experience to the one I described while trying to replace some of things insurance had (finally) allowed her to, including several precious titles.
The Pug List comes out in April and can be pre-ordered now. We recommend asking your local bookseller to get it for you, as that gives Hodgson more points as an author than ordering online. Or order it from Powell’s if you’re not fortunate enough to have a bookstore nearby. But if you like memoirs and Christianity, you’re gonna love this sweet, surprisingly cheerful story of a family rebuilding its life, house, and confidence.
Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, book reviews, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, reading, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch
a guest review by Beth O’Connor
Imagine for a moment that you have two small children, and your husband is one of four pastors at the large church where you are the minister of music. Now imagine what would happen when your husband determines that he can no longer deny the fact that he is gay.
Pain. Denial. Pain. Self-doubt. Pain. Anger. Pain. Shame. Pain. And more pain. An ocean of pain that threatened to drown everything. Yet, as deep as the ocean is, their faith in God was deeper. It was the lifeline they used to haul themselves up out of the darkness.
This is Our Family Outing, the autobiographical story Joe Cobb and Leigh Ann Taylor published in 2011 via TotalPublishingAndMedia. Told in alternating voices, Our Family Outing details Cobb and Taylor’s journey from being one very traditional family to two families who are anything but. All of the emotions in the process are poured out, from Taylor’s worst fear (What if my husband infects me with AIDS and leaves our children orphaned) to Cobb’s greatest joy (the birth of his and his partner’s second adoptive child).
Full disclosure: I discovered this book because Taylor is currently the music minister at the church I attend and my church book club went to her signing event. The book starts at the end, with Cobb and Taylor determining that they need to share their story with the world. The memoir takes you from the days they first started dating in seminary, to deciding how to tell their friends, family and co-workers, to creating separate lives in which everyone is loved and accepted for who they are.
The book can be awkward to read as Cobb and Taylor refused to avoid any of the uncomfortable situations in which they found themselves. As a reader, you will feel as though you accidently stumbled into someone’s private conversation and cannot find a way to escape from the room without being discovered. The description of their lives is deeply personal – such as Cobb’s fear that a lover from his high school years will give away his secret, to Taylor relating that early in the process her husband, “my favorite companion” did not smile at her for a year and a half.
Cobb and Taylor are not professional writers, and it shows – the writing is often clunky and disjointed. However, instead of distracting from the narrative, the raw style serves to underline how very real the story is. The book comes full circle, with the oldest of Cobb’s adoptive children playing The Game of Life and noting that everyone is along for the ride.
Filed under book reviews, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, out of things to read, publishing, reading, Sarah Nelson, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table, writing