Title: Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening
Author: David W. Berner
A man, his dog, and a long walk can lead to unexpected discoveries.
In the tradition of many literary walkers, writer and teacher David W. Berner sets out on foot hoping to reexamine his life, make sense of painful losses, understand his triumphs and his tragedies, and most importantly, through the help of his young dog, Sam, try to find harmony in new beginnings and the uncertainties of the present.
In a series of chapters, each dedicated to one walk during a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness, finding beauty, wonder, and comfort in the ordinary, and to see a life, a neighborhood, and even a country with brand new eyes.
If you love a good walk, if you love dogs, and if you believe that the answers to tough questions are found in quiet contemplation, Walks with Sam is your book.
Rarely does a book talk about Thoreau and walk like Thoreau. The musings of the author as he walks his dog are really enjoyable to read. You don't know where the book is going to go as it is literally dog-driven. I am known as someone who loves the writings of Danny The Dog by Andrew Joyce. Danny really needs to meet Sam. For Sam, he is ghostwritten by David. This is Danny the Dog from Andrew's perspective.
The musings range from weather to age to mortality to politics. They include the idiosyncratic occurrences that are found within a block of one's home. This was a great read. It is possible if you are a hardline right-wing, you might be offended by this book. To be fair, you are probably offended by any life outside of 1930's Germany.
This book just flows. You have no idea what the next page will bring. I loved the random nature. The only constant is that Sam needed to walk and David wrote what he thought the walk was about. Funny, entertaining, thought-provoking, this book is the best work this author has ever done. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
I recommend this book to every dog owner in the world. I also recommend this book to every armchair philosopher. You may be challenged by this book but in a good way. A terrific read.
My Rating: 5+ stars
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David W. Berner is a memoirist, essayist, fiction writer, and journalist. His memoirs reflect on our collective relationships and how those experiences link us to the world we share. David's stories are about fathers and sons, the redemptive power of road trips, travel, music, and the sage-like connections we share with pets.
David was born in Pittsburgh, PA and now lives in the Chicago area. Along with his writing credentials, David has had a distinguished career as a broadcast journalist, reporting for the CBS Radio Network, WBBM Radio Chicago, and public radio outlets throughout America.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N