Higher Places by Annette Marie Spiezio -- A Book Review

About the book:

Higher Places is an inspirational account of how the dogs in our lives move us to be better beings—how our lives are elevated by the honor of loving a dog. This book is also an account of how God’s grace resides within everything in life as He teaches us all sorts of wonderful life lessons through our canine friends. There is an intentional purpose in our dogs’ lives beyond the simple joys we experience by spending time with them. If we are open to receiving God’s grace, we can feel closer to God in the presence of these furry companions. You don’t have to be a “dog person” to be delighted by this loving, humorous tribute to God’s creations, but those who are blessed by the love of a good dog will be especially moved to smile, shed a tear, and feel their heart ascend to higher places...

My Review:

To be honest, if I hadn't already agreed to review this book, I wouldn't.  As an author myself, I don't like to give negative reviews, but in some cases, it cannot be helped.  I agreed to read and review this book because it sounded like something I would enjoy.  Lessons learned from our precious pooches?  I get that.  In fact, I've written my own book on some of the many lessons I've learned by observing my faithful canine companions.  But this book was not at all what I expected.

To begin with, it is not a Christian book.  The "spiritual" tag used in the book description has nothing to do with Christian beliefs or Biblical inspiration.  The author does not use Scripture to drive home her points.  Instead, the entire approach of the book comes across as almost mystical.  The dogs were praised and set up on a pedestal while God was given an occasional, "Oh, yes, and God had a part in it too."  At least, that's the way it came across to me.

Secondly, the author used words that I consider to be inappropriate for Christians.  Yes, I'm talking about cuss words, and I cannot, in good conscience, recommend a book that has such language.

Thirdly, I felt as if the information in the book was being thrown at me from all sides.  The chapters were disjointed and seemed to have no common theme.  The author referred to people by name whom she had never introduced, so I was left clueless as to who some of these people were.  One person she talked about frequently was her "partner," Nancy, with whom she lives.  (That's all I'm saying about that!)

Overall, I struggled to get through the book.  I was not entertained or educated in any way.  There was no inspiration or encouragement for me.  I felt it was poorly organized and even more poorly presented.  Do I believe that we can learn from our pets and that they can be an inspiration to us?  Absolutely.  But it is God working through our pets and inspiring our hearts that makes the difference.  It is where God uses their behavior or character traits to remind us or bring to light a spiritual lesson that can be found in the Scriptures.  The two go hand in hand.  This author seems to have missed that.

As always, you are free to make up your own mind, but this is my take and opinion on the book.  Take it or leave it.  It's up to you.

Note:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.