Image Credit : British Legion
This is the third 'doggie' book I have read in the past few years. Marley & Me is my all-time favorite in that category, but I picked up Endal by Allen and Sandra Parton because my love for Labradors is well-known.
From the start let it be known that Endal, who passed away last year, was a very special dog. Endowed with such uncanny insight and remarkable patience, Endal was not just the most decorated dog of the millennium, but also one of the most loved. If there were doggie saints, Endal would surely be the first! Having said that, the book is a disappointment. After a car accident left Navy man Allen Parton severely injured, losing his memory and eventually the use of his legs, Endal comes into his life as an assistance dog. Allen's life is transformed - he regains a lot of the independence he had lost, and Endal provides him with an emotional outlet that his accident-scrambled brain had taken away. Slowly, Allen begins to recover his lost life, and reunite with his wife, Sandra, and their kids. That's the story. But a great story does not a great book make.
Having struggled through a small injury last year, I fully understand the sort of confusion that Allen must have been thrown into after his accident. I admire his and Sandra's tenacity to overcome the odds and bridge their life together. Having said that, for a book named after a dog, the dog is introduced almost 150 pages into the book. And the entire book is less than 300 pages! That is a bit too much background and context to me. No reader should wait so long before being introduced to the dog after which the book is named!
Both Allen and Sandra take turns to narrate the story - the objective being to offer different perspectives, I guess. But while both of them talk a great deal about themselves and each other, they kind of forget to talk much about Endal. I mean, here is one of the most famous dogs in the world, the only dog which knew how to operate a cash point machine, and a lot of the book is stuffed with references to how many TV shows Allen and Endal attended! I remember crying at one point while reading Marley & Me, but Endal didn't quite evoke the same emotions. It was all cut and dry, and that is the pity. For much as I would like to know about Allen and Sandra, I really would have loved to have known Endal more.