You often hear stories of great pets, amazing animals that are the absolute center of their owner’s universe. Sometimes you hear about dogs that have accomplished amazing feats of bravery or provide life saving services to their owner. But not often can you attribute these characteristics to one animal. I also bet you would never attribute them to a miniature schnauzer. But then, perhaps you haven’t heard of Atticus M. Finch, companion to Tom Ryan, from the small coastal city of Newburyport, Massachusetts.
FOLLOWING ATTICUS tells the story of Tom Ryan, a well known and well liked man who earns his living running and editing his independent newspaper in the small city. He made it his goal in his professional life to bring the truth behind all the city government corruption to the citizens, much to the dismay of the mayor and other elected officials. It was perfect for the man who enjoyed writing, enjoyed reporting on politics, and made many friends among the business leaders of the community. One such friend sent him an email that changed his life – an email that ultimately transformed him and encouraged him to adopt Atticus. Man and dog developed an instant bond, strengthened by their combined love for the outdoors – especially hiking. They found themselves hiking the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire – continually attacking the forty-eight four-thousand foot high peaks. They enjoyed it so much, Tom set a goal for them to complete – climb all forty-eight peaks TWICE during the ninety days of winter – and raise money for charity while doing so. Can they do it?
This is a great non-fiction book that I think will appeal to different people for different reasons. Tom Ryan is your average everyday guy who writes fluidly and naturally. It is easy to connect with him because there is no doubt that every word he writes is coming directly from his heart. Anyone who has spent time in the woods, camping, even just looking at pictures of mountains with awe will get pulled into this book. I love the outdoors, and I have experienced hiking in the White Mountains. I haven’t attempted any of the high peaks, but this book makes me feel like I can (though I don’t think you’ll catch me up there in winter!) While the book is in part about the challenge Tom lays out for himself and Atticus, a lot of the narrative is just about being in the woods and looking out on the world from the top of a mountain. There are some beautiful images relayed in this book, and anyone can appreciate that.
Lastly, dog lovers will LOVE this book. I am not a dog person; my husband has been asking for years to get a dog, but I have never been interested. Reading about Atticus has me very nearly ready to check out petfinder.com or the MSPCA. He is just such an incredible dog! Maybe there is a small part of me that could be converted after all.