January 18, 2019
To Dance with the White Dog
To Dance with the White Dog by Terry Kay
1990 Washington Square Press
Finished on December 24, 2018
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
Sam Peek's children are worried. Since that "saddest day" when Cora, his beloved wife of fifty-seven good years, died, no one knows how he will survive. How can this elderly man live alone on his farm? How can he keep driving his dilapidated truck down to the fields to care for his few rows of pecan trees? And when Sam begins telling his children about a dog as white as the pure driven snow -- that seems invisible to everyone but him -- his children think that grief and old age have finally taken their toll.
But whether the dog is real or not, Sam Peek -- "one of the smartest men in the South when it comes to trees" -- outsmarts them all. Sam and the White Dog will dance from the pages of this bittersweet novel and into your heart, as they share the mystery of life, and begin together a warm and moving final rite of passage.
This book has languished on my shelf for many years, but I finally decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised, not wanting to put it down, reading late into the night. I can't remember who recommended it to me, but I have a feeling it was someone from my online book group over a decade (or two!) ago. In any event, I enjoyed this quiet, gentle story, which is based on the lives of the author's parents. Not a lot happens, so it should appeal to those who enjoy character-driven novels, particularly those who like tender stories about families and aging parents. Somehow, I didn't mark any passages, but the lyrical prose is proof of Kay's Southern roots. Now to watch the Hallmark production, which is based on the book and stars Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn.