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Page count: 7131.
I received Tales from a Dog Catcher as part of a book giveaway from Goodreads. I had forgotten I'd requested it and, to be honest, had low expectations.
Tales from a Dog Catcher is a collection of essays recounting the author's experiences during her time as Animal Control Officer in a town outside of New York City. These sorts of books have the tendency to degenerate into trite sentimentality, with vacuous prose snapshots of cloyingly cute animals.
But this wasn't the case with Duffy's book, a fact she announces in her first essay, a bleak, wintry tragedy. She simply told the stories that were there. Some of them are happy and uplifting, some of them made me laugh out loud, and one or two left me misty-eyed or angry.
Duffy's language is easy and engaging. She writes with down-to-earth humility, frankness, and insight, possessing an acute awareness of her shortcomings and strengths. And though much of the book is introspective in nature, she always lets the animals and people she deals with be the focal point of her stories.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Tales from a Dog Catcher, which more than exceeded my expectations. I found myself eagerly turning back to it in my spare moments and was sad when there were no more stories to read. I would recommend this not just to animal lovers but to all.