The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Holy Cow, by Sarah Macdonald

Holy Cow, an international bestselling memoir, covers much of the same territory as a more recent bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The good news is that Holy Cow is not at all pretentious and Macdonald is much less annoying than Gilbert. In fact, she is barely annoying, and only when she explains her situation for about the 48th time, which means that most people won’t find her annoying at all. For close to the entirety of the book, Macdonald is, in fact, quite delightful and a charming narrator.

In the aftermath of a trip to India during college, Macdonald (and I have a hard time not capitalizing that first D, but that’s the way she spells it) swore she’d never return. Yet 11 years later, she moved there in order to join her boyfriend and eventual husband, a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Company. In doing so, she gave up an exciting career and figured she’d find something to do in India. And what she ended up doing was checking out the various religions.

Macdonald makes the interesting point that India welcomes all religions. Some have an easier fit than others, but Macdonald, who was not raised with a religion, finds herself chatting up not just Hindus but also Jews, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, and a range of practitioners and gurus. She goes to a meditation retreat where she must remain silent for 10 days, she becomes enamored of Judaism until she’s turned away by those who don’t believe in converts, and she dissects the entire topic of arranged marriage. She’s a bright and informative tour guide through India’s various belief and cultural systems, and I look forward to reading more of her work. I highly recommend this book. I’m also tagging it as a beach book, because it’s an easy read.

As for animals, just as there is starvation among people in India, there are also starving animals, which Macdonald mentions. Some of these are cows, which seem to understand their ability to stop traffic but which also eat garbage because that’s often the only thing available to them. One of the best things in the entire book, however, is a gassy Doberman named Sweetie, who has been declared a spiritual guide. I’m declaring this book MOSTLY SAFE for animal lovers. Enjoy!


January 26, 2010 - Posted by | beach book, Book Reviews, travel | , , ,

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