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The Boston Globe


Book Review

‘The $60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals’

Edgy, revelatory, disturbing, and beautifully written, Lauren Slater’s “The $60,000 Dog” is too unsentimental and idiosyncratic in structure to be lumped in with more traditional animal books. “Lassie Come-Home,” even “Marley and Me,” this is not.

In seven chapters, the psychologist and writer presents us with a series of incantatory stories from her life — among them, the magical time she spent in the woods feeding foxes to escape an often cruel mother in the throes of mental illness; a spell as a teen in foster care, when she raised a baby raccoon who could help herself to cheese and grapes in the fridge; and the circumstances of that titular “$60,000 dog,” the one with glaucoma (the overall maintenance figure, calculated by her husband, includes a $50-per-hour rate for years of dog walking), and how it illuminated, often harshly, elements of her marital relationship.

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