Book Review: The Power of Dog by Andrew G. Marshall

I really don’t know how to start this review. I always have (or at least I think I do) something witty or interesting to say at the start of a post but this time I’m at a loss. Read this entire review and you might be able to understand why.

The Power of Dog by Andrew G. Marshall tells the story of Andrew and his dog Flash. Andrew decides to get Flash during a low point in his life when he feels things will never begin to look up. Flash brings Andrew bundles of happiness and this book is a moving memoir of the ups and downs of raising a puppy and how one small dog can make a person laugh and smile again.

I’m writing this review literally minutes after finishing the book because I want to portray what I’m feeling as genuinely as possible. That will probably result in this review being more on the side of rambling because I don’t know how to express my feelings. Let’s start by saying this is an emotional story; there is no doubt about that. However, if you are a dog owner, then the story of Flash and Andrew will hit you 100 times harder.

At the beginning of this book, I had many feelings of happiness. As Andrew recounts getting Flash and the beginning of their journey towards a great companionship, I recalled wonderful memories of my own dog, Bella. However, like everything in life, Flash gets older. Bella is also getting older and that doesn’t come without its problems. These problems are made harder by the fact that we are in different countries. The last 30 pages of The Power of Dog are fraught with emotion and I have a confession to make: I skim read a lot of them. Anybody who knows me knows that I read all books with an intensity – even the ones I’m not really enjoying. I just couldn’t do it here because I couldn’t deal with the emotions and feelings it brought for me about Bella. But I guess that is the point of a book, right? It is something for you to connect with, to make you feel, make you think. The Power of Dog certainly didn’t fail me in this aspect.

If you are not a dog owner, you will still enjoy this wonderful story of friendship between man and dog. The book is well-written and has a true feeling of “realness” thanks to its adaptation of Andrew’s diaries. If you are considering getting a dog, I believe this book provides a realistic insight into what it entails, as well as the joy a dog can bring. If you have already read My Mourning Year, you will know how Andrew lost his partner Thom just a couple of years before getting Flash. Through Andrew’s story, we can see just how less lonely having a dog (or any pet) can make you feel and how it can further integrate you into the community. Just so you know, you don’t have had to already read My Mourning Year to read The Power of Dog but it is another really nice book for you to consider.

I can imagine there will be some criticisms for this book; people tend to criticise other pet owners how they do parents. I did read some review prior to reading which touched on Andrew being apart from Flash too often. I tried not to leave these judgements affect my own but I did feel a bit of unease at points when Flash was left in the car (to no harm I am sure). Still, I am the person who moved to a different country and left her dog with her parents (to which I will always feel guilt) so I can understand the need to also live your own life.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It brought me to tears but also had me smiling a lot. I really think this is one people will enjoy. Let me know your thoughts.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Power of Dog by Andrew G. Marshall


  1. Oh gosh I don’t think I could bring myself to read this. I’m a dog owner and it’d just hit me too hard. I watched Haatchi a year or two ago on a whim, not really knowing what it was about and I more or less had an absolute breakdown, my Mum thought someone I knew had died, I was crying that much! Anything with doggos affects me but I’m glad you took so much from this book!

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