Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Following Atticus - Ryan

Tom Ryan, the author of Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship was an older, single, overweight guy who owned and wrote a local, one-man newspaper in Newburyport, Massachusetts. His life consisted of fighting untrustworthy politicians with his mighty pen and trying to connect with a standoffish father, who got shafted by life and was vaguely abusive to his children.

Then one day, Ryan's friend emailed him about a homeless dog. Ryan was moved and offered to give Max a forever home, despite having a no-pet policy at his apartment. The two quickly became inseparable and the town of Newburyport quickly fell too as Max followed Ryan on his fact-finding missions and meetings for his paper. But Max was an older dog and sadly he passed less than two of years after finding his home.

Ryan sadly went in search of something to fill the gaping void, eventually finding a breeder who, after many failed options, offered up a runt - one she fully intended to keep herself.  Ryan quickly realized that the dog was special and purchased the miniature schnauzer.  Dubbed  Atticus Maximillan Finch (both for his lost friend and for the father in Too Kill A Mockingbird), this little dog quickly becomes a lifeline for Ryan. 

An impromptu hike with his brothers, and the death of a friend to cancer, inspired Ryan to hike all forty-eight of the 4,000 footers of New Hampshire and raise funds for charities, including Angel Memorial Animal Hospital, with varying results. As little as Atticus is, many cannot believe Ryan and Atticus' efforts and worry about their safety. But the two became extensions of each other and forge on to each new adventure.

Ultimately, Atticus (and his breeder) bring new life to Tom Ryan and change his world forever.

This was a fantastic book! Not only is it well written, with many references to amazing literature, but it is also full of exciting hiking and climbing stories, while also being a great animal story. I happen to love all those pieces and they come together so perfectly in this memoir that I could not put it down.  A must read!

5/5- Excellent. Keep it, treasure it, reread it.

More opinions at:
Agatha & Louise


Teri Lynn said...

Great review Shannon!

I LOVED this book!!

I don't get much time for reading these days but I was so drawn to the cover of this book (Atticus' sweet face) that I opened it up and couldn't put it down until I had finished reading every last word.

I've been "following" Tom and Atticus on Facebook and his blog ever since I read this book.

Tom's writing style is so smooth and honest and just 'real' if that makes sense.

I thoroughly enjoy his nearly daily posts on Facebook. His relationship with Atticus and now William as well bring a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.

Tom, Atticus, and William have my full attention each time I see a post from them!

Shannon... said...

I agree!