From bestselling author of She’s Not There, New York Times opinion columnist, and human rights activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, a memoir of the transformative power of loving dogs.
This is a book about dogs: the love we have for them, and the way that love helps us understand the people we have been.
It’s in the love of dogs, and my love for them, that I can best now take the measure of the child I once was, and the bottomless, unfathomable desires that once haunted me.
There are times when it is hard for me to fully remember that love, which was once so fragile, and so fierce. Sometimes it seems to fade before me, like breath on a mirror.
But I remember the dogs.
In her New York Times opinion column, Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote about her relationship with her beloved dog Indigo, and her wise, funny, heartbreaking piece went viral. In Good Boy, Boylan explores what should be the simplest topic in the world, but never is: finding and giving love.
Good Boy is a universal account of a remarkable story: showing how a young boy became a middle-aged woman—accompanied at seven crucial moments of growth and transformation by seven memorable dogs. “Everything I know about love,” she writes, “I learned from dogs.” Their love enables us to pull off what seem like impossible feats: to find our way home when we are lost, to live our lives with humor and courage, and above all, to best become our true selves.
Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of more than a dozen books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. Her column “Men & Women” appears on the op/ed page of the New York Times on alternate Wednesdays.
She serves on the Board of Trustees of PEN America. From 2011 to 2018 she served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD and also provided counsel for the TV series Transparent and I Am Cait. Her 2003 memoir, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders was the first bestselling work by a transgender American.
A novelist, memoirist, and short story writer, she is also a nationally known advocate for human rights. She lives in New York City, and in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with her wife, Deedie. They have a son, Sean and a daughter, Zai.
“Boylan’s gorgeously crafted homage to our unconditional love of dogs turns out to be much less of a paean to her constant canine companions, and much more of a journey through her own psyche and the moral needle of the world we live in. What do we keep, even as we lose pieces of ourselves? The dog at your feet while you’re reading already knows the answer.”
—Jodi Picoult, #1 NYT bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things
“Good Boy is a warm, funny, instantly engaging testament to the power of love—canine and human—to ease us through life’s radical transitions. And I say that as a cat person!”
—Jennifer Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, and Manhattan Beach
"Beautiful, tender, and utterly engaging, Good Boy measures out Boylan's life in dog years. The result is a gorgeous memoir, full of heart and insight."
—Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book
"Jenny Boylan has given us a story full of humor, earned wisdom, and large doses of unconditional love. Beautifully written, wise, and funny, Good Boy is a gift to us all—but especially the dog lovers."
—Jami Attenberg, author of All This Could Be Yours
"How do you measure a life? Anyone who has lived serially with dogs will appreciate Jenny Finney Boylan's brilliant answer: through the dogs who have accompanied you through that life. The dogs we choose reflect us, and how we live with them reflects on us. Silent observers of the vicissitudes of growing up -- and being grown up -- Boylan's dogs track her selves. Good dogs, all."
—Alexandra Horowitz, author of Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond, and the New York Times bestselling Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know