Friday, March 3, 2017

Dear Abby - Remembering Special Pets: Princess Poo

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a wonderful week!  I think spring is coming early here.  I love that, because it means longer walks outside.  

My good friend Angela is visiting today.  Angela is a great dachshund friend.  She runs the Doxieposse on Facebook and Twitter.  She has visited before, to introduce my buddy Gizmo and his family, and also to mourn the loss of Gizmo's brother Teddy.

Abby:  Thanks for stopping by!  What pet would you like to remember at my blog today? 

Angela:  The pet I want to mention is Princess Poo. She was around from April/May 2002 until June 2010. She was Gizmo's mom, she was half JRT and half dachshund. 

Abby:  What are some happy memories of Princess Poo? 

Angela:  Princess was full of spunk and energy. She always loved to do zoomies around the yard and house. She was Gizmo's best friend for the 4 years they spent together before her passing. When she was just a puppy, I would lay on the floor on my stomach and she would get in the nook between my legs and fall asleep. I felt bad when I needed to move, but that was her favorite spot. She also loved jumping on our trampoline. I would  put her on the trampoline and she would do zoomies on that and grab hold of my pants and bounce. Sometimes we would just lay on the trampoline and stare at the sky. She was always by my side. 

Abby:  Do you have any funny anecdotes? 

Angela:  This one may be a little bad, but it still makes me laugh to this day. My brother was living at home while Princess was around. He didn't like her climbing in the bed with him and would make her leave his room. One morning, I was standing in the doorway talking to my brother while he was at his closet. Princess had ran past me and hopped in his bed. She proceeded to climb on top of his pillow and take a poo. I couldn't stop laughing. She was glaring at my brother the entire time. She had got her revenge on him. I will never forget the look on her face, it was priceless. That would teach my brother to kick her out of his bedroom. It should be noted, they became really close years later and the poo incident was forgiven. 

Abby:  I enjoyed visiting with you today.  Is there anything else about Princess Poo you would like to share? 

Angela:  Princess was a special girl. I loved her dearly. I missed her while I was at college. She was one of the main reasons I would come back home to visit. Though she is no longer around, part of her lives on in her boy Gizmo. He reminds me of her everyday. The short time I had with her was some of the happiest times. She could make you laugh and was a great cuddle buddy. She ran the house and is still talked about almost daily, even 7 years after her passing. 
Abby:  Angela, thank you so much for visiting and sharing your memories of Princess Poo.  I loved the description of her playing on the trampoline.  I can just picture that!  She sounded so sweet and cuddly too.

Friends, if you would like to leave a comment for Angela, you can do that in the comments below.

If you would like to remember a special pet here, please leave a note with your email in the comments too.  Thanks!

Wishing you a good weekend.

Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Book Synopsis
“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.” 

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

This edition includes a four-color reproduction of Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
I grew up in a family that loved art.  We had art history books and went to touring exhibits at the local museum.  When I was quite young, I first saw Christina's World.  I remember that it puzzled me.  I wanted to know why the woman was lying in the grass.  Who was she?

Of course, when I first learned that A Piece of the World was inspired by the woman in this famous painting, I wanted to read it.

This beautifully told book tells the story of Christina's life.  Christina has difficulty walking as a young child, and this only becomes more pronounced over the years.  She lives a quiet life in Maine with her brother.  When a young local girl, Betsy, brings her beau Andrew Wyeth over, Christina's life begins to change as she, her brother, and their home become inspirations for Wyeth's art.

I love the way this story spans the years and tells Christina's history, as well as the history of her family.  The author writes:

"Over the years, certain stories in the history of a family take hold.  They're passed from generation to generation, gaining substance and meaning along the way.  You have to learn to sift through then separating fact from conjecture, the likely from the implausible.

Here is what I know:  Sometimes the least believable stories are the true ones" (p. 16).

This is a quiet, relfective novel, and I found it deeply moving.  This is my second read by Christina Baker Kline.  (I read and reviewed Orphan Train earlier this year.)   I love the way she tells a story.  The characters are so well developed and so real.

Christina's life is small and quiet, but there is great beauty in the details.  I loved the attention to detail in this novel.  Christina describes her life:

"When your world is small, you learn every inch of it.  You can trace it in the dark;  you navigate it in your sleep.  Fields of rough grass sloping toward the rocky shore and the sea beyond, nooks and crannies to hide and play in.  The soot-black range, always warm, in the kitchen.  Geraniums on the windowsill, splayed red like a magician's handkerchief.  Feral cats in the barn.  Air that smells of pine and lavender, of chicken roasting in the oven and freshly ploughed soil" (p. 29). 

I recommend A Piece of the World highly for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, art history, fiction involving art, or simply enjoys reading beautiful storytelling. 

Author Bio 

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels. She lives outside of New York City and on the coast of Maine.
Find out more about Kline at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.