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Summary

When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. This wise, plainspoken, beautiful audiobook enacts the truth Abigail discovered in the five years since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.

©2006 Abigail Thomas (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ann D
  • Newcastle, England
  • 30-08-14

Good, but narration could have been better!

What three words best describe Abigail Thomas’s performance?

Too emotionally flat.

Any additional comments?

This is a well written autobiographical account of a tough situation. It wasn't what I expected. The focus was largely on the situation with the brain injured husband, with both the wife's moving on and the dogs, being minor side issues. Nevertheless, it was interesting and engaging. Unfortunately, I found the narration tough going. Nearly every word was voiced in a relatively mono tone, with a depressed undercurrent. Although anyone going through the circumstances of the book would be depressed at times, a 5-year period was depicted, so it wasn't appropriate to read the entire thing in that way and was tough going for the listener.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sara
  • 30-09-15

Eloquent & Honest

This book is beautifully written and gently narrated by the author. It is--on several rare occasions wistfully funny--but primarily it is an exploration of loss, guilt, and dealing with the vagaries of life. This isn't a how-to manual, a therapy session or a book for people not conversant with disaster.

Instead, it is a frank memoir of a 60 something year old woman and her experience of life as a chasm opens and the bottom falls out of her world. On the whole a very personal and openly written book about growing, coping with change and learning to love what is. Learning to, as the author says, weave it all in and then learning how to keep on weaving it in.

Painful, poetic, insightful, sad, & eccentric are words that come to mind. Certainly not a book for everyone, but I thought it was excellent. Be warned this book discusses difficult and disturbing themes. That said--I'm still glad I listened.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 12-07-14

A love story in the truest sense...

This profoundly beautiful story traces the changes in a middle-aged couple's lives after the husband sustains a traumatic brain injury... because he cannot remember his life before, his wife Abigail (author and narrator) reaches across and joins him in his new world. Following her husband's accident (he was tragically hit by a car while out walking the dog), Abigail begins to live alone with their dogs while her husband lives in an assisted living facility where she visits him frequently.

Rather than retrace the story from the point of the accident, the book meanders across time, events, and locations in a way that feels natural and sincere. The story's progression reminded me of how one's thoughts wander during the grieving process, and how a single seemingly unrelated thought will remind one of cherished memories of an event that occurred "before." This is a love story in the truest sense in the way that Abigail's life before is irretrievably lost: She must summon the strength both to rebuild her own life and to be a source of strength to her husband.

Although Abigail's tone is light and matter of fact during most of the book, there were passages I found so moving that I teared up. Having had a loved one who experienced traumatic brain injury, the conversations Abigail describes with her husband felt familiar, as did her kindness in not correcting her husband when he thought they were on vacation when just driving around town or any other number of ways. She showed her love by reaching across and allowing her husband to be who he'd become after the accident, rather than reminding him of what he (and she) had lost.

I found this book intensely moving. There is no "eureka" moment of enlightenment, but rather the day-to-day experience of accepting life and loved ones for what they are rather than what could be. Highly recommended.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnolia
  • 11-04-15

A Dear Old Friend

Abigail became my dear old friend as I listened. She's honest,and a comfort to have around. She inspires me with her courage, purpose and passion. I'd like to meet her for breakfast this morning. So good to know that I've got a friend.

Sarah Borders..Blowing Rock, NC

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lorraine Salmon
  • 17-12-17

Drop Everything, Read!

I recommend this book to anyone. Period.

But most especially, anyone dealing with loss, trauma,aging, youth. Anyone looking for perspective. A Three Dog Life will give you an open door into a place where your own perspective can be heard, by you. It’s a place of forgiveness, judgement, despair and joy. It’s a rollercoaster. It’s life. It’s amazing. Sometimes I play it one more time, just to hear Abby’s voice ... just to know ... that I didn’t know ... what I knew all along.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cathleen Perez
  • 15-04-18

Good read

I liked everything about this book. I like how the author tells her story and how authentic she is. She has a soothing voice so for me it was and is, easy to listen to. I love all her books and would recommend this, along with everything else she has written. One of my favorite authors!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pippa Horton
  • 16-08-17

wonderfully honest and bittersweet.

I listened non stop start to finish. laughed and cried. life and agiing in its most honest prose!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • smith182
  • 13-07-15

Too sad

This book was too sad. I got halfway through and couldn't stick with it. It made me feel down and so sad for this woman.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Eileen
  • 05-08-15

Bad Book

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Noone

Would you ever listen to anything by Abigail Thomas again?

No, I don't think I will if this is an example of her work.

Have you listened to any of Abigail Thomas’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was the first time reading one of her books.

What character would you cut from A Three Dog Life: A Memoir?

None

Any additional comments?

Don't buy the book.

0 of 8 people found this review helpful