Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 224 pages
The Premise: Colin Campbell was married to Jane who he considered to be the love of his life. Unfortunately, when he returns home from a business trip, he learns that she has decided to leave him. Spiralling into heartbreak and depression, he takes advice from a friend who encourages him to adopt a dog. This is the story of how he met George, a 140lb Newfoundland Lasseer breed who is a rescue dog. Together, they overcome their past and this is the story of how their relationship develops.
My overall thoughts and review: As a dog lover, when I first heard about this book at the RHC Blogger Preview, I knew instantly then and there that it was going to be a must-read for me. They also mentioned to us at the preview that George surfs and I thought that was so fascinating. To begin with, Colin begins his story with defining what he means by a "Free Day" - a free day is doing something with someone you love and on that day, you don't grow old, it is a free day. I love this concept so much because the book definitely encourages you to make more time to have these type of free days. The story begins with Colin laying the foundation with how his marriage fell apart and how he learned to find ways to deal with it. I was surprised with how open Colin was with everything, especially explaining his visits to a therapist which I really empathized with. The story of how they first met and how shy George was in the beginning, honestly made me want to crawl into the book and give George a big hug. I was away from home when I was reading it and I instantly wanted to go home and hug my dogs. This was such an incredibly beautiful story about Colin and George's relationship and it really transcends the traditional 'pet-owner' relationship, and it comes through so much in the text, just how much they mean to one another. I think that as a dog lover, this book definitely resonated with me a lot. I loved it and it definitely made me reconsider what significant roles animals play in my life specifically. I think even if you aren't a dog lover per say, this is an incredibly heartwarming and touching story and I think the concept of a free day will definitely draw you into the book. This is Colin's first book and he has such a wonderful way with words that I really hope he continues writing and I am so excited to see what upcoming projects he has. I highly recommend checking this book out because it really does share some life lessons and it also depicts a beautiful friendship between Colin and George.
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
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Also I thought I'd share this since I think it fits perfectly with the book. I thought I'd share some pictures of my precious fur baby, Kaile. She is a Shih Tzu breed and she is 8 years old now. Kaile came from a farm and she was incredibly sickly when she was little, but she is doing better than ever now :) She has grown so much over the years but she still feels like a puppy most days to me. She immediately bonded with my entire family and my aunt adores her! She has about 4-5 beds in our entire house which is insane, because ultimately Kaile prefers sleeping at the end of one of our beds. She is seriously the sweetest dog and she loves belly rubs. I don't know what I would do without her. I love spending time with her whenever I can and she honestly brightens my day everyday. I truly feel like the time spent with Kaile is most definitely what Colin Campbell describes as a free day. <3
Author Q&A with Colin Campbell
Can you tell us a fun fact about George that you don’t mention in the book? A quirk? For example, my dog, Kaile, really likes to eat steamed veggies like carrots.
George likes to hide dog bones that I have given him. He doesn’t chew them right away - he hides them! He will take them and quietly, and meticulously, hide them someplace so he can access them later. I have found bones underneath my pillow, behind cushions on the sofa and his favorite - in the dirty laundry hamper. He also loves to eat strawberries – he loves them.
This book is partly your story and partly George’s story. Do you see yourself writing another book in the future about George again?
I would like to – there are many other life lessons that I didn’t get into detail in this book that would make for a complete new book. At present, I am getting some inquiries from movie producers about his story and we are exploring that. There has also been some discussion on a “George Children’s book” like Clifford, except George is a real dog….
What do you think readers who aren’t necessarily “dog-lovers” can take away from the book?
The premise of ‘Free Days’ is pretty universal and is not tied into dog ownership. To be able to have moments in life when you recognize joy and happiness in what you are doing, and who your are doing it with, is very special. As my grandfather says in the book, when that happens, you don’t get old, its a ‘free day’ on earth. I have had many people who don’t own dogs, but have read the book tell me how much they loved that part of the book, and how it has made an impact in their life.
What is the one central message you hope your readers walk away with when they finish the book?
Love. The book is about love. I hope they will walk away with the example that love can help overcome almost anything – whether you are homeless, abandoned, suffering from an unexpected loss, or even dealing with darkness and depression - even a small sliver of love can help make things better, and even surpass your expectations. The book illustrates how this happened to both George and I individually, and collectively.
What do you set out to achieve when you write?
This was my first book, so I sort of learned as I went along, but the biggest thing I tried to do was convey what was in my heart and in my head so that it made sense on the pages. I wanted readers to feel that emotion and feel part of those experiences, as if the challenges were their own, and George was their own dog. I hope they were able to feel the same connection that I made with him… if I managed to do that, the book should make you happy inside and stay with you for a very long time.
And now for a giveaway, if you would like a chance to win a copy of the book, please enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below. For this giveaway it will be CANADA ONLY (my apologies to my dear international readers)! You must follow the blog and leave a blog comment answering "What a Perfect Free Day" is to you! Good luck and thank you for entering! :D
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Random House Canada for consideration/review. The book for the giveaway is also provided by Random House Canada. All opinions are my own.