The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Dumbfounded, by Matt Rothschild

All books should be this much fun to read.

I picked up Matt Rothschild’s slightly-fictionalized-but-mostly-true autobiography with some trepidation. No, it wasn’t that he played with a few situations in order to make them read better — since he’s not Winston Churchill or some other historical figure, I’m not a purist about the details. My question was whether he’d turn out to be whiny. And he wasn’t. Instead, he was very, very funny in describing the misadventures of his sometimes poignant childhood.

Matt’s mother gave him to his grandparents to raise, but that doesn’t mean he was unwanted. He was very much wanted by those very grandparents. Matt frantically whips out one anecdote after another about the 19-room Manhattan apartment, the occasional questions about his parents, his acting out in school and resulting expulsions, being singled out for being Jewish, the chauffeur, the bossy butler, his monster of a mother, and the questions as to whether he was gay (or bisexual — as he humorously put it when he speculated that perhaps the occasional Cindy Crawford fantasy was more about greed than interest in women). And yet his eccentric grandparents, Sophie and Howard, gave him the foundation all children need, that of knowing they are loved and valued no matter what (and Matt gave them plenty of “what” to overlook). That foundation in turn allowed him to make a courageous stand toward the end of the book, when he did something that one of my favorite people lacked the cojones to do when faced with a similar decision.

So yeah, I am now a member of the Matt Rothschild fan club. I don’t just like him as a writer, I also like him as a person. Do I recommend this book? Of course!

This blog exists for animal lovers who don’t want to read about unpleasant incidents involving animals. Dumbfounded is completely SAFE for such readers. There is a dog, Static, who is loved despite his imperfections and Matt’s assumption that Static likes other people better. But Matt takes responsibility for Static, showing that he did indeed learn some important lessons from his grandparents.

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September 10, 2009 - Posted by | beach book, Book Reviews, humor | , , , , , , , , ,

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