Author: Diane Daniels Manning
Genre: Young Adult, General Fiction
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
About the Book
Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.
Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy.
I received a free audio version of this book for an honest review.
This is a sweet story about friendship, dreams, and dogs.
Benny is a mildly autistic teen from a dysfunctional family. He becomes friends with his elderly neighbor, Bess, who has given up on her dream to win at Westminster.
A friendship between Benny and Bess blossoms as she helps Benny learn how to be a dog trainer. Benny learns a lot from Bess but she learns a lot from him too. Speaking of relationships, McCreery and Breaker, two champion standard poodles, are a big part of this story and I enjoyed listening about them the most.
The narrator of Almost Perfect did a good job for the most part. I have listened to books in the past that I could tell who was talking by the change in the narrator’s voice but that wasn’t always the case in this book.
Although the book gets a little slow at times, the end at the Westminster Dog show is emotional and exciting. I think dog lovers would like this book, especially those who enjoy watching dog shows.
FYI: the Westminster Dog Show takes place from February 16-17 this year!
About the Author
Diane Daniels Manning is the co-founder and director of The New School in the Heights, a therapeutic school in Houston, Texas which helps children dealing with social-emotional challenges find success in school and life. She has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H from Harvard and is a practicing child psychoanalyst certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Formerly, she was the Director of the Reading and Learning Disabilities Clinic at Tufts University, Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard, and Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University. She learned the inner workings of dog show kennels by writing an authorized oral history of a lifetime President of the Poodle of Club of America. Her writing awards include the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Prize and the Women in Film and Television Short Script Competition.
When not at The New School, Diane and her writing partners, a Standard Poodle named Misty and a rescue cat named Elvira, convene at the keyboard to share great thoughts and plan the dinner menu.
You can win one $50, $25 or $10 Amazon Gift Card on the author’s website.