I have never been a reader. I’ll be honest – I don’t like to read. I read quickly, and very well, but I don’t read unless I have to.
My Bachelor’s degree is in history and culture. You can imagine I had to write and read A LOT in college. I was okay with reading at the time because I enjoyed the topics I was studying. Ask me how many books I have read since I graduated college in 2011…maybe one? Two?
I honestly never thought I’d do a book review on my blog until I received the opportunity last week to delve into this wonderful book and share my thoughts on it. Boy, am I glad I did. I am writing this review in exchange for 3 copies of the book Saved By Gracie, written so beautifully by Jan Dunlap.
When I got the book in the mail last week, I was very excited. I had read a short background on Jan’s website, and was thrilled to read about her experiences. I much prefer to read about real life experiences (hence the reason my Bachelor’s degree is in history!)
The first time I sat down to read Saved by Gracie in the peace of my backyard, I couldn’t put it down. The story is about Jan’s experience with her black lab Gracie; from her pre-adoption experiences, to years after Gracie had become a member of her family. What stood out to me most was the voice of Jan coming through, and I was able to relate to each experience she wrote about. Her brutal honesty painted a fantastic picture of everything I read. Jan included facts, small side stories and intense descriptions that I really drew me into every sentence in the book.
Saved by Gracie centers around how Jan’s dog, Gracie, helped her back into a life of “health, happiness, and God.” What makes the story amazing for any reader is that Jan goes through life obstacles that many people of many ages go through. Personally, I have dealt with my own anxiety struggle and journey to find God again. Jan’s story gave me inspiration, as well as someone to relate to. I am happy to say that I live a lot less stressful life now, and God plays a huge role in my every day. By reading Jan’s story, it helped me understand that “wow, I am not the only one who went through struggles exactly like this!”
What I loved most about this amazing book was the fact that Jan was so honest, it almost made me cringe as an animal lover. I can’t imagine someone not wanting a dog, or being afraid of a big dog, but it is more common than we know. From Jan I learned an entirely new perspective because of a situation that is all too common in the American household – teenage daughter wants a dog, mom thinks it’s not a great idea. Despite Jan being a professional, busy woman with health and anxiety issues, she takes Gracie into her home and ends up developing as a person, making new friends and learning a new way of life.
I will say it again, I don’t like to read. But I will also tell you this – this book took me 2 days to read (I think about 6 hours or so) and I could have finished it in one sitting. The book itself didn’t intimidate me – front to back it’s 160 pages, with a medium font, sentences spaced out nicely – which helps many readers like myself who get intimated by super small text, 300 pages and sentences crammed on every centimeter of the page. As you can tell from the picture above, I was able to fold the book back to make it easier to read in my hands. You can throw it in your purse, suitcase or backpack without the book taking up too much space.
In Saved by Gracie, Gracie literally dragged Jan out of an anxiety-ridden life. Jan’s evolution throughout the book will amaze you, make you laugh and maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about yourself.
“I just don’t think I was aware I had a problem, until Gracie came into my life to fix it,” (Dunlap, 135).
Need a good summer read or pick me up? I give Saved by Gracie FIVE STARS!!! Pick it up, and you won’t put it down! Check out Jan Dunlap’s website at: