Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Merle's Door"

Ted Kerasote's writing has appeared in dozens of periodicals and anthologies, including Audubon, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Salon, and the New York Times. He is also the author and editor of six books, one of which, Out There: In the Wild in a Wired Age, won the National Outdoor Book Award.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest book, Merle's Door: Lessons From A Freethinking Dog, and reported the following:
Is page 69 representative of Merle's Door? Yes, in that Merle the dog is the central character of the book, and Ted the person not only treats him like an equal, but also acts as his translator.

I lay down on the run with him, nose to nose. "So tell me" -- up went one brow, down went the other -- "what happened with those coyotes?"

At the sound of their name, he blew out an anxious breath, his eyes becoming deeply worried.

I petted his head, and he sighed, a sigh that seemed to imply that things hadn't turned out quite the way he had expected.

Yet, much of what makes Merle's Door special as a dog book, doesn't appear on page 69. The reader won't see the adventurous life Merle lived in the outdoors, how his dog door, which allowed him to come and go as he wished, enhanced his mental and social skills, or how the dog-human partnership can become richer if we share leadership with our dogs instead of trying to be their alphas, just as the latest wolf research shows that wolf parents actually delegate responsibility for running the pack to their maturing pups.

All and all, however, the tone of page 69 is like the tone of the rest of the book: Merle is treated with the respect another intelligent and heartfelt being deserves.
Read an excerpt from Merle's Door, and learn more about the book at Ted Kerasote's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue