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Beacon Books at Audible: The $60,000 Dog by Lauren Slater

Susie Bright, in addition to being a best-selling author, activist, and podcast host, is editor at large for Audible. Susie's blog, The Bright List, keeps readers and listeners apprised of new audiobooks, with Aretha Bright reviewing new titles. 

Today's post is a cross-post of Aretha's review of The $60,000 Dog: My Life With Animals by Lauren Slater, which was simultaneously released in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook last week. 

SLATER-60KDogDon’t be fooled by the adorable puppy cover—author Slater does indeed love animals, but her memoir is anything but soft and fuzzy.

Her memoir is the story of a bleak childhood, dominated first by her mother’s mental illness and then by a foster family that gave her a house, "but not a home." Her love for animals starts here, where she finds refuge in the countryside and observing the lives of deer, foxes, and insects.

The $60,000 dog of the title is Lila, the family pet, who came down with an extremely painful case of glaucoma. The dilemma that Slater faced is one that will resonate with every person who has ever valued an animal as more than just a pet.

As Lila’s medical bills mounted, Slater was faced with choosing between sending her daughter to summer camp or buying the medicines that would ease Lila’s pain. The happiness of her daughter stacked up against the happiness of her pet.

Slater first wrote of this situation in O Magazine, where it was a huge hit and inspired the rest of the book. Animal lovers will certainly relate to the “do anything it takes” approach to save their fuzzy family members.

Slater is great at building tension and intrigue. Her memories of animals that affected her life are beautiful. Be prepared to cry during the scenes at the vet hospital! Especially for the baby swan whose beak was broken off. 

This book will touch every person who has ever thought of animals as their dearest companions.