Sunday, May 22, 2011

You Had Me At Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam

From Goodreads:
Julie Klam was thirty, single, and working as a part-time clerk in an insurance company, wondering if she would ever meet the man she could spend the rest of her life with. And then it happened. She met the irresistible Otto, her first in a long line of Boston terriers, and fell instantly in love.

Over the years her brood has grown to one husband, one daughter, and several Boston terriers. And although she had much to learn about how to care for them-walks at 2 a.m., vet visits, behavior problems-she was surprised and delighted to find that her dogs had more wisdom to convey to her than she had ever dreamed. And caring for them has made her a better person-and completely and utterly opened her heart. Riotously funny and unexpectedly poignant, You Had Me at Woof recounts the hidden surprises, pleasures, and revelations of letting any mutt, beagle, terrier, or bulldog go charging through your world.

Anyone who knows me knows I can't get enough of dog books because even though we always know the outcome of just about every dog story ever written, they always make our human world just a little better with their loyalty and unconditional love. Julie Klam manages to put so perfectly into words what it is about dogs that makes us love them so much. 

I knew I would love this book when, in the first chapter, Julie Klam describes her Boston Terrier Otto as smelling like Fritos. I knew I found a kindred spirit at this declamation because I have always said to my husband that our pug Frank, on occasion, smells like corn chips. He always looked at me like I was crazy when I said this, so that was the moment when I knew this book was going to be nothing short of loveable.

There are moments of heartbreak, joy, and absolute hilarity in this book, but crux of Klam's thesis is, no matter how dysfunctional your house might seem, dogs will almost always fill it with love, laughter, good health, and happiness.

I was initially drawn to this book because the adorably awkward Boston Terrier on the cover reminds me so much of my pug Guenter. And even though I love dog memoirs, I wasn't initially sold on this book from the jacket blurb. I have read so many dog books and this one didn't jump out at me as unique or different from the ones I've already read. But every time I would go to the book store, I would see that face, the one with the bulgy eyes and the awkwardly angelic expression that reminded me of Guenter, and it wasn't long before the pull of the cover caused me to cave and finally buy it. 

I was not disappointed. So much of Julie Klam's reasons for loving dogs are my own reasons and they're not ones I can articulate without re-writing her entire book.  So my suggestion to you if you're a dog-lover (or if you're not a dog-lover and just want to know what makes us crazy dog-people tick) is just to just read this book. You won't be disappointed.
A note about the format: I did actually listen to the audiobook version of You Had Me at Woof. Usually if I listen to an audiobook, I'll do a review of the audio presentation if it was stellar or sub-par. This audiobook was right in the middle. There was nothing distinguishable about it, but it kept me engaged and the narrator, Karen White, had a pleasant and soothing voice. If you enjoy listening to audiobooks and are always on the lookout for good ones, I would recommend this one.

You Had Me At Woof: How Dogs Taught Me The Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam, narrated by Karen White
Published: September 2010 by Riverhead and  October 2010 by Tantor Audio
Pages: 240
Audiobook Length: 5 hours, 44 minutes
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adult dog-lovers


  1. I have this book. It is my all time favorite book cover. I am in love with that dog.

  2. I love the pug. Love. I just put this on hold at the library.