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Gimme Shelter is a walk through an angry author’s life, a sometimes schizophrenic timeline detailing an anger problem, and the soothing remedy of Tanner- a pit bull adopted in the author’s later life with a nature distinctly different from the writer’s. It is a memoir that is well-written and full of emotion. The characters portrayed are raw, imperfect, and in need of attention, just as real humans are. And the story propelling the narrative is one of heartbreak and recovery- a feel good, motivational tale of love and acceptance.

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Interspersed with a detailed, and well-written, albeit sprawling autobiography, are family photos and advice gathered from around the net on a variety of subjects, most relating to care for dogs, specifically pit bulls. While the additions are interesting, they take away from the flow of the story, creating a mash-up of a story that feels somewhat like a motivational novella, a self-help book, and an engaging story of the bond between human and animal.

Unfortunately, the flow between these segments feels off, as the timeline of the writer’s exploits is somewhat irregular, with vague references to past events, and shallow descriptions of auxiliary characters who add little to the plot.

At the heart of this book is a strong journey between a man suffering to right the painful wrongs of the very beginnings of his childhood by reconnecting with an animal whose disposition is sweet and kind, despite trauma and abandonment. In many ways, the timelines of author and pet are very similar, and the work bridges many important questions about the bonds between man and animal, abuse and recovery, and family. Yet the story is saturated with other tidbits which should be distilled to provide an exciting snapshot of life, without information irrelevant to the story, and with a stronger focus on the acts of recovery that define us all.


Number of Pages: 236

Recommended For: a bedside table

Enjoy it With: steaming espresso, your favorite pet

For fans of: dogs, pets, motivational stories

Best place to buy it: http://www.amazon.com/Gimme-Shelter-Mr-Louis-Spirito/dp/1482330687