I do think that some of the previous reviewers missed a point and erred in their reviews when they complained that Vicki tells too much of her own story or that of her town and people of Spencer, Iowa. As you read this book, I think you'll realize that Dewey cannot be separated from the people he affected without ruining the story or at least losing some of its impact. I have to admit that when I first was reading through the book, I did ask myself: "why is she telling us this?", or "why is she giving us her biography in a book that's supposed to be about Dewey"? But then I realized exactly why she was smart enough to include all of this seemingly unimportant history.
You see, this book is not just about Dewey. It's not just about Vicki Myron. It's not even about the town of Spencer and its people and the awe they felt for Dewey. It's about their connection to each other. It's about how Dewey affected them, each in their own unique way. It's about the effect he had on the countless people who simply passed through Spencer, many of them coming just to meet Dewey. And let us not forgot all those, who, like me, never even met him. And yes, there is something for you, dear reader (if you have a heart beating in your chest, rest assured, Dewey's story will affect you). As you read this book, you may very well find yourself connecting with Dewey. That comes in part from understanding the community of people and the hardships they faced, the life-altering events they experienced and then how they dealt with it all. Even those events from many decades ago, helps us truly appreciate the profound effect Dewey had on the people he reached out to. Understanding Vicki and her life tells us all the more about not only Dewey's effect on her, but also the whys and wherefores of his presence, and his fascinating ability to sense who needed him and when. It's a story about how the community of Spencer, Iowa came together to deal with tragedy and crisis, usually with Dewey as the unifying factor. It teaches us that not only we can do the same, but that we should do the same. And let's not forget the Library. Dewey made his library important and famous. He did that, perhaps for all libraries, and highlighted their true significance and their need in each community, or perhaps, more accurately, our need for them, something we have lost connection with in our modern technological age. He let us know that the real reason they exist is not merely as a warehouse for books, but as a meeting place for the heart of our true selves. It is a place for true community connection. He was the conduit for that connection with Spencer and all who dropped in for a visit.
I think it also teaches us that animals serve and important role to us humans. Animals, like Dewey, give us unconditional love, regardless of who we are, what we've been through or how we react to our circumstances. Beyond that, they can help us to see what really matters. As they comfort and calm us, they allow us to perhaps see things in a better light, from a different perspective, and certainly with a better mood. It also tells us that the grief from losing a beloved pet can go as deep as any other grief we experience, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way.
So please, read this book. Read it for enjoyment. Read it to someone you love. Read it to laugh. Read it to cry. Read it to learn something about life and love and community. Understand what it's really all about, and then perhaps you'll not only enjoy the book, you might even learn a life-lesson from it. I think one of them is that all of us should probably visit our local library a lot more often than we do. It's all but certain that you will come to love the late, great Dewey himself.