Clara the Early Years by Margo Kaufman
I used to love this time of year for the mail delivery. I wish that more people continued with the tradition of sending cards and letters, which has gone out of style in favor of e-mail greetings or, frankly, just being completely ignored by far-flung family and friends. I miss the old days, in this particular instance.
That being said, I received a lovely card and holiday letter from the first friend I made when I moved to a new town at the start of seventh grade and her husband yesterday. They're on the path to international adoption and hoping that 2009 brings a child into their home. I, too, have the highest hopes for their son or daughter to join them this coming year. Although I don't know her husband all that well, my friend would be a fantastic mother, and, since she was also adopted, she has a lot of extra understanding and emotional support to offer to an adopted child.
After reading their letter, I had to re-read one of my favorite autobiographical books, Clara the Early Years: The Pug Who Ruled My Life by Margo Kaufman. Besides being a fun book by a woman who just "gets" being a dog parent, the story follows the process when Kaufman and her husband adopt a child from Russia. Anyone with an interest an adoption, international adoption, pugs, or dogs with personality should find this book entertaining.
Living with two dogs of my own who are large on personality, with our Yorkie shining a little more obviously than our Rottweiler, just as Clara outshines her pug sister Sophie, and experiencing the integration of my daughter into "their" home, I can say that Kaufman is dead-on in her portrayal of the experience. While my income level isn't quite as, um, nice as theirs obviously is from the details in the book, the overall feelings are the same for anyone who considers dogs as family members. And Kaufman seems like the kind of person I would enjoy chatting with over lunch or a cup of coffee, and her book reads like a social visit.
My overall rating of Clara the Early Years is an A-.