A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas, ’59. At the outset, Abigail tells us that what stays the same is that her husband got hurt. A couple who fell in love in a heartbeat –she noticed he was the nicest man in the world when they first met -- find their lives shattered by a terrible accident. He was hit by a car and had traumatic brain injury. She fumbles through her tools for survival the way she rummages in her purse, a familiar chum on her shoulder. Knitting poncho after poncho, smoking, drinking, collecting Outsider Art (art that’s the product of occupational therapy) help her get through the time. But It is mostly her three dogs, nestled warmly about her in her bed, who bring comfort. She shuns human companionship with its need for explanation and justification, but as I read, I imagined she was talking just to me over a cup of coffee.
She is the absolute wizard of “show, don’t tell.” Remembering a lake as a storm brews, she imagines herself lying on the dock that becomes detached by the winds. She wonders if she would enjoy the rocking as her last seconds tick by. No need to tell us her life is out of control.
The biggest take-aways from this book are her voice, its warmth, humor, and radical honesty, and the love that persists even as her husband is so tragically damaged.