Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.
Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy.
Almost Perfect was a truly loving book about a relationship about a older women, a young boy,and a dog. I personally loved the story. This book came at a perfect time in my life. My Kingers a Black Lab of 11.5 years passed away right after Christmas. The devotion and love that Bess has for McCreery I can totally relate to ~ that is how I feel about Kingers.
Benny's want and need for a new dog I also understand his desire. When Kingers passed my husband and I decided that we wanted to get another dog. When you are a true dog lover the need is such a driving force to find the perfect dog for you.
My hubby and I always watch the West Minster Kennel Club show on TV. We have always thought that the Smooth Fox Terrier is such a neat breed of dog. After searching and talking to everyone we found our Smooth Fox Terrier puppy. We have named him Diesel. Diesel is the far right puppy. He will be coming home in early March ~ the feeling Benny had - we have! Total excitement about getting a new dog family member.
In the story I feel Benny's need for having a dog and pleasing his mother was his need to feel accepted no matter what. At 14 his life had ups and downs and I feel those situations left him feeling insecure about himself and the love that others felt for him. A dog loves you unconditionally ~ I think Benny knew that in his heart.
For Almost Perfect I chose the Audible Version. Almost Perfect is my third audible book. The narration was excellent. Caroline Miller did an excellent job expressing emotions in her words. Very easy listening that kept me wanting to find out what was going to happen next.
Almost Perfect is a very good read ~ I highly recommend the book.
West Minster Kennel Club show will be airing on TV February 16th - 17th, 2015.
It is a great show to watch - check out dog breeds and watch some amazing dogs in action!
Author Interview with Diane Daniels Manning
Q1. What gave you the idea of writing ALMOST PERFECT?
Even as a kid, reading all the great dog and horse books for children, I probably dreamed of writing a dog story myself. But the idea lay dormant for years until I had my own poodles and worked with special needs children.
Q2. How long did it take you to write ALMOST PERFECT?
I started on a version of ALMOST PERFECT almost 30 years ago. It began as an oral history of one of the great poodle breeders, was transformed into a novel about her and her dogs, and ended up in its final version when I added in the boy, Benny. Like my characters, I never give up!
Q3. If you don’t show dogs yourself, how do you know so much about that life?
I bought my first Standard Poodle from a fascinating woman who is a legend in the Poodle Club of America. She allowed me to take her oral history and introduced me to some of the great American poodle breeders. The character of Bess is inspired by her.
Q4. What made you want to write about Westminster?
Westminster is one of the world’s great sporting events, but what it represents in the book is wanting something so much you can’t give it up even if you try. That is the strength of Bess, her sticking to her dream, even though she falters along the way.
Q5. You are the co-founded and director of a therapeutic school in Houston. Do you use pet therapy there are part of the curriculum?
At the school, I have witnessed the healing power of animals, in this case dogs, to change people’s lives and heal families. The two Standard Poodles McCreery and Breaker accomplish this for seventy year-old Bess and Benny, an ADHD teenage boy, who together take both dogs to Westminster.
Q6. How do you see pet therapy help the children in your school?
The therapy dogs (and one cat) who visit our school every week help children who have never been able to establish long-term friendships before. They learn they can depend on the animals, and they learn that being kind returns kindness to them.
challenges find success in school and life. She has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H from Harvard and is a practicing child psychoanalyst certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Formerly, she was the Director of the Reading and Learning Disabilities Clinic at Tufts University, Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard, and Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University. She learned the inner workings of dog show kennels by writing an authorized oral history of a lifetime President of the Poodle of Club of America. Her writing awards include the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Prize and the Women in Film and Television Short Script Competition.
When not at The New School, Diane and her writing partners, a Standard Poodle named Misty and a rescue cat named Elvira, convene at the keyboard to share great thoughts and plan the dinner menu.
Connect with her: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook