Monday, February 6, 2012

UNTIL TUESDAY- Luis Carlos Montalvan

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for a dog story. And if that dog is a Golden Retriever, well, I am all over it!

UNTIL TUESDAY is a gorgeous memoir about 17-year Army veteran and his service dog, Tuesday. Montalvan was serving in Iraq when he was ambushed and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. After his tour of duty, pain from his injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder disabled him to the point where he was unable to leave his house, connect with friends or family members, or have anything remotely resembling a "normal" life.

That was until he met Tuesday, the service dog who was to become his best friend and constant companion. Tuesday takes care of physical needs, such as retrieving shoes, but more importantly, comforts and calms Montalvan, and has enabled him to heal emotionally and resume a more normal life.

I expected a heartwarming man and dog memoir. UNTIL TUESDAY is definitely that (get your tissue box ready!), but it's much, much more. Montalvan (who is highly critical of the US government/Army's handling of the war) helped me to see the Iraqi war through the eyes of a soldier and to better understand PTSD. Montalvan also exposes the discrimination faced by people who use service dogs- I was stunned to learn that there are many restaurants, stories, and even transportation entities, such as city buses, that don't allow the dogs onto their premises.

A must read for dog lovers. This is an adult book, but high school and maybe even middle school readers would enjoy it. There is some violence and vivid imagery in the scenes that take place in Iraq.

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