Tuesday, February 10, 2015

G535 Book Review of Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning

Name of Book: Almost Perfect

Author: Diane Daniels Manning

ISBN: 9780578136394

Publisher: Beltor

Type of book: 1990s, dog shows, poodles, dogs, dreams, autism, disability, romance, sister relationship, mother/son relationships, facing up to fears, Redding Connecticut, school for special needs

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

An old woman who has given up hope and a boy who believes the impossible wonder if life would be perfect at the Westminster Dog Show.

Seventy-year old Bess Rutledge has dreamed of winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life. Despite her decades-long career as one of America’s top Standard Poodle breeders, she has decided she’s too old to hold on to her foolish dream. She sells off all the dogs in her once famous kennel except for the aging champion McCreery and his mischievous, handsome son Breaker. Part of her senses they might have been the ones to take her to Westminster, if only she’d dared to try.

Bess meets Benny, a teenager with mild autism who attends a therapeutic special school, and learns he has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. Benny is drawn into the world of dog shows and becomes convinced he has found the perfect way to win his mother’s attention. If he can win Westminster with either McCreery or Breaker, he just knows she will finally be proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy. . .

Up to 100% of the author’s profits will be donated to charities serving animals and children. Visit www.dianedanielsmanning.com.

Characters:

For me personally it seems as if characters weren't really delved deeply, but instead they seem to be more of surface than depth. Benny is an interesting character who seems to have autism and always speaks whatever is on his mind. He is also struggling with learning about himself and seems to have a rocky relationship with both his father and stepmother and worships his mom. Not much is told or shown about Benny's mom aside from the fact she constantly breaks his heart and that she cares more for materialism than her son. Bess is a poodle owner who had a dream of winning Westminster show and who also struggles with her own demons and trying to make up for her past mistakes. David is Bess's son and can really relate to Benny's life. He constantly felt abandoned by his mom and is trying to come to terms with that emotion. There is also Dr. Kate and while I liked her, I did feel as if not enough was told about her.

Theme:

Its never too late for dreams

Plot:

The story is told in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view, or almost everyone's point of view; that of David, Bess, Benny, Mona, Dr. Kate and in few instances even Benny's parents. I was very impressed with the way Benny was portrayed and few times I wanted to laugh out loud at some of his comments because they aren't very expected! While I was impressed with the dialogue and the topic of the book, I do feel that characters need to be worked on more and more details need to be added on in the book.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Diane Daniels Manning
Meet the Author:

Diane Daniels Manning is the co-founder and director of The New School in the Heights, a therapeutic school in Houston, Texas which helps children dealing with social-emotional challenges find success in school and life. She has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H from Harvard and is a practicing child psychoanalyst certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Formerly, she was the Director of the Reading and Learning Disabilities Clinic at Tufts University, Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard, and Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University. She learned the inner workings of dog show kennels by writing an authorized oral history of a lifetime President of the Poodle of Club of America. Her writing awards include the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Prize and the Women in Film and Television Short Script Competition.

When not at The New School, Diane and her writing partners, a Standard Poodle named Misty and a rescue cat named Elvira, convene at the keyboard to share great thoughts and plan the dinner menu.

Connect with her:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Opinion:

To be honest, personally for me the book is more of a 3.5 read. I did find the story addictive and I enjoyed hanging out with dogs and learning about how dog shows work, but the narrative felt disjointed in some places and I think I also would have liked there to be more delving into people and relationships. I did feel disappointed that some things took place off-stage and I wanted to see more of a relationship development between David and Dr. Kate as well as more interaction between Benny and the mother, or even more interaction between Benny and Bess. I guess it seems to have a lot going on and not much time to help the reader really delve into the important issues. The book is definitely an easy and a heart warming read for any age.

This is for iRead Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

Jan 26 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 26 - Cherry Mischievous - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Jan 26 - Did YOU Hear About the Morgan's? - review

Jan 27 - Cassandra M's Place - review / giveaway

Jan 28 - Christy's Cozy Corners -  book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Jan 28 - Bound 4 Escape - audiobook review

Jan 28 - Shannon's Book Bag - review

Jan 29 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / giveaway

Jan 29 - Nighttime Reading Center - author interview

Jan 29 - The Things We Read - review

Jan 30 - Peeking Between the Pages - audiobook review / giveaway

Jan 30 - Green and Glassie - audiobook review / author interview / giveaway

Feb 2 - Laura's Online Interests - review / author interview / giveaway

Feb 2 - Based on a True Story - review / giveaway

Feb 3 - Brooke Blogs - audiobook review / giveaway

Feb 3 - Perfect Chaos - review / giveaway

Feb 3 - A Blue Million Books - author interview / giveaway

Feb 4 - Ann's Reading Corner - review / author interview

Feb 4 - Life With Katie - review / giveaway

Feb 5 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review

Feb 6 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway

Feb 9 -   Svetlana's Reads and Views - review

Feb 9 -   A Peek at My Bookshelf - review

Feb 10 - justonemorechapter - audiobook review

Feb 10 - Life as Leels - review / author interview / giveaway

Feb 11 - Rockin' Book Reviews -  review / book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 11 - Pinky's Favorite Reads - audiobook review / author interview

Feb 12 - View from the Birdhouse - audiobook review / giveaway

Feb 12 - Pure Jonel - audiobook review / guest post / giveaway

Feb 13 - Jessica Cassidy -  review / guest post / giveaway

Feb 13 - Library of Clean Reads - audiobook review / giveaway
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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