7 reviews

One Good Dog
by Susan Wilson

Published: 2010-03-02
Hardcover : 320 pages
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9 clubs reading this now
6 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 6 of 7 members
One Good Dog is a wonderful novel: a moving, tender, and brilliantly crafted story about two fighters--one a man, one a dog--hoping to leave the fight behind, who ultimately find their salvation in each other. Susan Wilson's clear and unflinching style is perfectly suited for her story ...
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One Good Dog is a wonderful novel: a moving, tender, and brilliantly crafted story about two fighters--one a man, one a dog--hoping to leave the fight behind, who ultimately find their salvation in each other. Susan Wilson's clear and unflinching style is perfectly suited for her story that strips away the trappings and toys we all hide behind, and exposes our essential need to give and accept love in order to thrive.--Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Adam March is a self-made "Master of the Universe." He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. But there is a price to be paid for all these trappings, and the pressure is mounting?until the day Adam makes a fatal mistake. His assistant leaves him a message with three words: your sister called. What no one knows is that Adam's sister has been missing for decades. That she represents the excruciatingly painful past he has left behind. And that her absence has secretly tormented him all these years. When his assistant brushes off his request for an explanation in favor of her more pressing personal call, Adam loses it. And all hell breaks loose.

Adam is escorted from the building. He loses his job. He loses his wife. He loses the life he's worked so hard to achieve. He doesn't believe it is possible to sink any lower when he is assigned to work in a soup kitchen as a form of community service. But unbeknownst to Adam, this is where his life will intersect with Chance.

Chance is a mixed breed Pit Bull. He's been born and raised to fight and seldom leaves the dirty basement where he is kept between fights. But Chance is not a victim or a monster. It is Chance's unique spirit that helps him escape and puts him in the path of Adam.

What transpires is the story of one man, one dog, and how they save each other--in ways they never could have expected.

Editorial Review

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He was a rough- looking thing. Big ears, wiry hair. His muzzle

just beginning to grizzle. He looked like the sort who’d been

living outside of society for a while, maybe never really been a

companion. After a long parade of supplicants appearing before

me, each wanting me to choose him or her, their noses pressed

up to the chain- link fence that separated us, there was something

in this one’s deep brown eyes, not a pleading— pleading I

can overlook— but something else. A quiet dignity, maybe even

an aloofness, as if he really didn’t need me or my kind being

nice to him. Yes. That was it, a haughtiness that declared he

needed no one’s pity; he shouldn’t even be here. Don’t look at

me; I’m only here by coercion.

Our eyes met and held, but then he turned away. Beta to

my alpha. But in that brief gaze, I saw something I recognized.

Maybe it was just that I saw my own in de pen dent

streak, the one that has kept me on top. Or the eyes of a fi ghter

down on his luck, but with memories of recent glory. Maybe I

saw that underneath the rough exterior lay a heart, like mine,

2 • Susan Wilson

not entirely hard. You’ve got to be tough to live in this world,

whether your lip is curled in real anger or fear aggression,

you have to be willing to carry out the threat. This battlescarred

fella understood that, and on that basis I made my

decision. He was the one for me.

So I wagged my tail.

Chapter One

“Sophie.” Adam March doesn’t look up from the rectangle of

paper in his hand. His tone is, as always, even, and no louder

than it should be to reach across his executive- size offi ce,

through the open mahogany door, and to the ears of his latest

personal assistant. On the pink rectangle of a “While You

Were Out” memo slip, in Sophie’s preferred lilac- colored ink

and written in her loopy handwriting, are three simple words

that make no sense to Adam March. Your sister called. Not

possible. Time and date of call: yesterday afternoon, while he

was enduring what he hoped was the last of the meetings he

was going to have to hold before today’s main event. A meeting

in which he’d given a combination pep talk and take- noprisoners

mandate to his handpicked team.

Adam fl ips the pink note back and forth against the knuckles

of his left hand. This is a mistake. Sophie has made a mistake.

Not her fi rst. Lately he’s been noticing these little slips of

judgment, of carelessness, of Sophie’s slightly less than deferential

attitude. As if she’s not a subordinate, but a peer. Too many late nights when the jacket comes off , the tie is loosened,

and the sleeves are rolled up. Too many weary hours leaning

over her as she works on her computer, struggling to make

every document perfect. She’s made a common mistake: Being

in the trenches together doesn’t mean that they are friends,

that he will overlook sloppiness.

Adam closes his eyes, takes a deep breath. The most important

day of his career and it’s already started out badly.

His alarm hadn’t gone off . Which meant he hadn’t had

time for his run around the gravel jogging paths of his gated

neighborhood, which meant he had lost that thirty minutes

of “me time” he needed so desperately before a day fi lled with

meetings, conference calls, at least one confrontation with

middle management, and, at the end of the day, a dinner party

his wife, Sterling, had planned in order to befriend the newest

neighbors, the Van Arlens, before someone else got them.

The Van Arlens, it was believed, had connections to the best

people. People who were useful to anyone interested in social

advancement and really good schools for their children. Which

basically summed up Sterling.

Adam had no objection to a get- to- know- you dinner; he

just preferred not to have them on the same day as so much

else was going on in his life. But then, if they waited until he

had a slow day, they’d still be living in Natick and their daughter

wouldn’t be enjoying the connections that would serve her

for the rest of her life. It was hard work, laying the groundwork

for social/business/education/recreational pathways for

a teenage daughter who greeted him with ill- disguised sullenness

when he made the eff ort to show up for one or another

of her endless sports in time for the fi nal score.

When Adam thought about having kids, he’d pictured himself the Ward Cleaver of his family— wise, loving, adored.

Ariel hadn’t been wryly mischievous like Beaver, or devoted

like Wally. Adam hadn’t heard an understandable phrase out

of her mouth in years, every mumble directed at the table, or

muttered behind her long blond hair. The only time he saw

her face was when he attended her horse shows, when her hair

was scraped back and under her velvet- covered helmet. But

then she blended in with the other girls, all pink cheeks and

tight breeches and blue coats. Sometimes he rooted for the

wrong girl/horse combination. To say nothing of the fact that

all the horses looked alike, too. To Adam, horse shows were a

tortuous and endless replication of the same blue coat, black

helmet, brown horse racing around the course, and then the

girl crying when a rail was knocked or a time fault incurred or

because the horse was crazy, lazy, lame, or just plain stupid.

Except for Ariel’s drive to become some kind of horsejumping

champion, a goal at which Adam had thrown great

handfuls of money, she was an enigma to him. Yet this is why

he worked so hard. This and Sterling’s four- carat dinner ring

and her personal fi tness gurus, one at each of the three homes

they owned— Sylvan Fields, Wellington, Florida, and Martha’s

Vineyard— the support of an increasingly large staff and their

illegal cousins; and the cadre of fi nancial managers to make

sure he didn’t pay more taxes than he should. They, unlike

most of the rest of the people he employed, were very, very


At age forty- six, Adam March had found himself, on this

overcast morning, pressing his forehead against the bathroom

mirror and wishing he didn’t have to go to work. Not

only had his alarm failed him but the house keeper had

failed— again—to have the made- to- order granola he needed. view abbreviated excerpt only...

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Well written"by soukup (see profile) 12/09/16

Enjoyed author's writing style from the beginning. Sweet story, but with a few twists to keep the story moving forward.

by psorbara61 (see profile) 01/22/16

  "Not your typical dog story"by FTessa (see profile) 08/14/12

Adam March is a self-made man, a high-powered executive who has lost everything after an uncharacteristic total loss of control. Chance is a 3-year-old pit bull, set to be euthanized after ... (read more)

  "One Good Dog (a difficult read)"by nbaker (see profile) 04/02/12

I usually love a good dog story. I'm a sucker for the emotional bonding that transfers between owners and their pets. "One Good Dog" is an emotional story about overcoming pain, putting life into perspective... (read more)

  "A "must read" for dog lovers"by eaichinger (see profile) 01/12/12

I am a dog enthusiast and I loved this book! It's a quick read and very touching. It will tug on your heart strings. But if you are not into animals, this may not be for you.

  "Should Be Market to Young Adults or Even Children"by ebach (see profile) 09/06/11

ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson is the story of Adam, a highly paid business executive who has a breakdown and loses everything as a result, including his marriage. He gets stuck with a pit bul... (read more)

  "One Good Dog"by smundier (see profile) 02/25/11

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