The true story memoir: what works
The art of the memoir is in taking the past and making your personal history accessible to everyone. Marie Cullen achieves this in her book “The Year of the Dogs.” She does this using inspirational and honest writing, that at times strikes real truths about being human. This, to me, is the essence of good writing. And these truths pop out at you from the text throughout the book, taking you by surprise and an element that keeps you reading.
Sadness as connection
Ms. Cullen’s understanding of the personal and emotional landscape of feeling is evident in The Year of the Dogs, and the story timeless. I cried many times during this read, which to me is the way that I connect with something more universal. And, like all good writers, Ms. Cullen really makes you care about what happens in the story. In a way, the real life element of the story and the descriptive nature of her writing connect you to her. As a memoir should, I feel like I know the author from the inside out. But better than that, I get the feeling after reading her words that I have connected with a like-minded spirit.
Love story author gets it right
What is most remarkable about this tale is that love both precedes and prologues the sideline story of addiction. The most crucial to the point of telling a love story is to keep love first. Which what happens here. What the author ends up teaching us, in the end, is the true nature of love. The timeless, infinite, and unconditional qualities of love are present.
Although I did have some qualms about chronology (time is fluid within the work), Cullen uses the form of the memoir to artfully and honestly tells us what it was like to fall in love, and lose a love, to addiction. I highly recommend this book to addicts in recovery, to people who enjoy sad love stories, or to loved ones dealing with loss from addiction. In the end, we are never alone and can unite in our common humanity through love.