Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Giant George

Giant George: Life With the World's Biggest Dog

I'm actually not finished with Giant George (hoping to finish it tonight), but I just have to tell you about this book. The dog memoir craze has been going strong for years and shows no signs of slowing down.
It's getting to the point that I will only read a dog memoir if there's something unique and radically different about the dog and/or the relationship. I'm very happy that your sweet dog brought your family/neighborhood/dog park together, and I'm also glad that you learned to live with your badly behaved pet and didn't take it to the shelter, but after a slew of these books, they all start to read the same. I feel the same way about people who buy a house in France or Italy and write books about the quirky locals, the confusion of conversing with shopkeepers with attitude, and the delights of the local cuisines. Lovely for them, but it's been done to death. (And let's not start a new frenzy of books about the superiority of a country's parenting techniques. Pretty please?) Now, if you write a book about building a house, meeting your neighbors, conversing with shopkeepers, and eating the local cuisine in say, Brazil or Ethiopia, then you've got something unique.  And if you write a memoir about living with the world's biggest dog (Guinness certified), you have my attention.

The Nassers had no idea that the runt of the Great Dane litter that they took home one day would grow to be the biggest dog ever documented in history.  Looking back, of course, there were hints along the way. Namely the fact that the breeder repeatedly remarked that the parents were quite large, and the fact that his paws were enormous for a little puppy.  But George kept growing...and growing...and growing.  So much so that by the time he was six months old, he was the size of an adult Labrador Retriever.  Of course, George still had the mentality of a six months old puppy: clumsy, clueless, and full of energy.  Add that to the fact that the Nassers were in the middle of trying to find a new home, so it wasn't very surprising that Dave Nasser decided to put George up for adoption. They didn't have the space, and with baby plans not too far into the future, George was just too much to handle.

Except...the Nassers couldn't. George was already family, and you can't just give up on family, even (or especially) if they're a challenge.  George stayed, and grew, and eventually the human family grew (not without heartache). And one day, while the Nassers were shooting the breeze with a couple of friends, someone got the idea: why don't they grab their Guinness Book of World Records and look up the entry for the biggest dog?

As one review remarked, this rises above the crowded pack of "my dog is so awesome" or "my dog is so bad" (George is awesome, but not bad) memoirs.  George is truly a gentle giant, as most Great Danes are.
 Whether it's finding George a suitable bed, celebrating his birthday, flying on an airplane and appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, or finally welcoming their daughter into the world, Nasser writes with hilarity and humanity. This is a funny, heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking), and inspirational story that dog lovers should not miss.  Nasser needs to write a children's book about George. If Dewey, Marley, and the Bedlam Farm dogs can have children's books written about them, then George deserves a children's book of his own as well.  What a great story about family and not judging by appearances it would be!  According to the Arizona Daily Star, there's already talk of a TV movie or film. George is an exceptional dog, both in stature and spirit, and the Nassers are a terrific family. If you're in the mood for a great and uplifting story, this is the book for you. 

If you want to see George in action, check out his website. Like all celebrities nowadays, he's also on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube

No comments: