A Big Little Life

| October 27, 2013 | 0 Comments
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About the Author
Trixie and KoontzWhen he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages and he has sold over 450 million copies to date. Fourteen of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From HeavenFrom the Corner of His EyeMidnightCold FireThe Bad PlaceHideawayDragon TearsIntensitySole Survivor,The HusbandOdd HoursRelentlessWhat the Night Knows, and 77 Shadow Street), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Sixteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. His books have also been major bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.

Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.

Dean Koontz lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie. Find out more about Dean on his site and Trixie on her site.

I’m a fan of Dean Koontz whom you may all know as the bestselling author but whom I know and will always think of as a dog lover.  I have not read any of his many bestsellers but I plan to after reading this book. Not only because it’s clear that he loves dogs (and I hear uses them as key characters in his books), but also because he’s a gifted storyteller. The way he writes puts you right in the room with him, living his experiences and sharing his feelings.

A Big Little Life is about Trixie, a retired Golden Retriever service dog from CCI (Canine Companions for Independence).  The Koontz’s are active supporters of this non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Trixie was 3 years old when she got placed with the Koontz’s and immediately became part of the family. She was their first dog and this book shares their experiences getting to know each other – human and dog –  and all the wonderful lessons that dogs taught them. What CCI taught Dean was “If this dog does something wrong, the fault will be yours, not hers.” So true – for all of us, isn’t it? I wish more of us would take this to heart. A dog shouldn’t be a possession but a partner in a relationship. Dean shares this wonderful bond with Trixie.

“She is a very special dog.” This phrase was shared with Dean by many people and indeed it appears that Trixie was very special. I think we all have dogs that we think are special, and some we just know who aren’t but love them anyway. My first chocolate Labrador Retriever, Mocha, had what I called “healing powers”. She knew when you were upset and needed a shoulder to cry on or a good laugh – she was very willing to accommodate. She just “knew”. Trixie made a lasting impression on most that had the opportunity to meet her. Dean attributes her with inspiration for his books as well as helping him find good work-life balance.

This book is heartwarming as you can feel the love, amazement, and respect that Dean felt as well as the search for understanding. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, and a partnership was forged. Life will never be the same for him. I was delighted to hear that Trixie was an author herself and I can’t wait to read other books by and about her. Here are a few that are on my list:

“In this big world, she was a little thing, but in all the ways that mattered, including the effect she had on those who loved her, she lived a big life.”

– Dean Koontz talking about Trixie in “A Big Little Life”


Category : Book Reviews


About the Author ()

Lorraine has owned Labradors for over 20 years and has bred them about half that time. A good day for Lorraine is experiencing the unbridled joy of her labs greeting her (in the morning, after work, or even after a short trip to the store), witnessing the pure happiness of her labs in the field retrieving or exploring on a hike, and snuggling with (or under) them on the couch at night. A great day is a good day (just described) plus having a litter of puppies around!

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