Surviving Henry

Surviving HenryIt takes a lot for a book to make me cry. Movies, not so much. But a book? And it’s definitely an added bonus if said book can make me laugh out loud—several times! That was my response while reading Erin Taylor Young’s non-fiction book Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe. Erin is a humor writer (which is where the laughter comes in) but she’s also truly gifted at tugging on her readers’ heart strings when it comes to emotion.

I’ll admit, I purchased Surviving Henry, because it was written by a friend and I wanted to be supportive. It’s not the first time I’ve picked up a book for that reason. However, it is the first time I’ve done so and was so incredibly blessed by the writing, the story and the characters, that I couldn’t put it down. Yes, Surviving Henry is a non-fiction book, but even so, heart-felt characters flavor the pages from cover to cover.

Those of you out there who may not be dog lovers (Yes, I know you’re out there) may think this book isn’t for you. After all, if you don’t care for dogs, why would you care about Erin’s escapades with Henry? I’ll tell you why. Because this book is a metaphor for so much more than the antics of one off-kilter boxer. It’s a story of how God brings opportunities (and blessings) into our lives disguised as challenges. Henry reminds me of my son, Christopher. Don’t tell him that, he might just be insulted. But when Christopher was small, he was strong-willed (translation? Difficult) and tried my patience on a minute-by-minute basis. Erin’s dedication to the task of raising Henry isn’t much different than my oft-frustrated relationship with my son.

So, what if you aren’t a dog person and have never had children? I would imagine you’ve been faced with challenging people in your lives—that crusty next door neighbor or the snarky co-worker you pray will call in sick every day. Maybe it’s a mother-in-law who sets your teeth on edge whenever you hear her voice or your spouse (and if so, let me know so I can pray for you.) Surviving Henry is a metaphor for any of these situations—and many more besides. It’s a story of perseverance, tolerance and, eventually, love.

If you’re still not sure about the book, you can visit Erin and Henry at their website There you can meet them both as well as view videos and read the first chapter of the book. It doesn’t get much better than that! If you haven’t already figured it out by now, this is a must read.

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