Dust of 100 Dogs & Heat of 1000 Blushes

I wanted to be a vet for a whole week when I was little. This career path followed right after my I’m-going-to-be-an-astronaut phase, which was curtailed after I tried to dress my infant brother in my Astronaut Cabbage Patch’s outfit: helmet and all.

The vet phase was also short lived. Lasting exactly as long as it took for me to discover that vets don’t just play with puppies all day: they also have to treat sick dogs, put dogs to sleep, and deal with blood. Also, my mother pointed out to me, vets don’t just treat dogs. They treat all sorts of animals. Including snakes.

I decided I wanted to be a Sea World trainer instead. It’s a good thing I changed my mind about this too, because that career path would ultimately not have worked out for me; as evidenced by the fact I hyperventilated at 19 while at Stingray City in the Caymen Islands.

I’ve outgrown my eight-year-old career indecision, but I haven’t outgrown my phobias about blood or snakes. I also haven’t outgrown my sensitivity to all-sad-dog-things. Twenty years later, Stonefox still makes me teary. Winning the race was NOT worth it!

So I was a big wimp – a bigger drama queen – and made a fuss about reading Dust of 100 Dogs. I bought it, I looked at it, I built all sorts of scary theories in my head….
And then I finally read it.

That’s when I realized: I’M AN IDIOT. The book is not about a pirate who kills 100 dogs. (Yes, that is one of the plotlines I invented).

A.S.King’s book is unlike anything I’ve read before. It’s a beautiful mix of historical, with current, with fantastic. I loved the structure of the book – the past, the present, the dog training facts – each facet worked together to tell a story that transcended the parts. (And I’ll freely admit that for each Dog Fact, I did a mental inventory of the puggles. They pass.)

Sidenote: the characters’ names are awesome too! Saffron and Emer have made their way onto the list of potential names for the distant-future-residents of the NTB.

Sure there were intense scenes – but I handled them. Part of me thinks I should get a merit badge for bravery, but a bigger part feels ridiculous for being such a wuss. Imagine what I’d have missed out on if I had talked myself out of reading this. It’s like brussels sprouts – how long did I resist those? Now I love them!

I was so inspired by my outstanding bravery and King’s equally outstanding prose, that today at the bookstore I picked up another book with a scary cover: Bliss by Lauren Myracle.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll start talking myself into reading it.

5 comments


  • Bliss isn’t scary, I promise. I’m 1/2 way through it and the scariest thing so far is some font. But remember its just a font. Fonts can’t hurt you.

    April 13, 2009
  • Oooo, I hadn’t opened it yet. Saw the scary font on the cover, it continues IN the book? I think I can, I think I can…

    April 13, 2009
  • You read wayyyy too fast! My bookstore was OUT of D100D – which upsets me since I feel like it might be required reading for someone in my profession (btw, my job is much like a vet’s minus the snakes). But I DO have BLISS and can’t wait to catch up with you!! :D

    April 13, 2009
  • Only a few times…and its over before you know it. I really like how this book is set up. The black pages of quotes between the chapters. Now I think I must go read some more of it. What’s one more review behind?

    April 13, 2009
  • Wimpy no more! So pleased you enjoyed it, Tiffany! Emily–sorry to hear your store was out. :( I hope you ordered it with a pirate look in your eye.

    April 13, 2009

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