Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Audio Review: Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning

Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy.

Paperback, 340 pages
Published January 29th 2014 by Beltor 
Audible - 9 hours 7 mins

Audio books are a favorite of mine, this one wasn't long just over 9 hours.  My attention was grabbed right away.  Though I usually shy away from stories that deal with animals (mostly because of cruelty and sad endings) this one was different.  It was realistic and believable with struggles facing most people today.  It showed dedication and going after what you want.  I loved the ending because it wasn't perfect, but Almost Perfect :)

I promised myself when I started doing reviews that I wouldn't do a scene by scene analysis of the book.  I don't like reading them in reviews because they just give too much of the story away.  The synopsis is posted above and sometimes even that says too much, but not in this case.  There is more to the story here, it's also about friendship, family and discovering yourself.
  Benny is an easy character to like, he is well portrayed here, because of his family and social issues it wasn't hard to root for him and feel empathy in his struggles.

Bess isn't without issues herself, as the story slowly unfolds we are given a glimpse into her soul as well. Put these two together along with a litter of puppies and Almost Perfect is created.

Almost Perfect is a heartwarming story that I found gripping and emotional (but not too emotional).  The reader of the audio version did a great job bringing this story to life.

This year the Westminster Kennel Club has their annual show on Feb 16 & 17th, click on the link for more information.

Diane Daniels Manning is the co-founder and director of The New School in the Heights, a therapeutic school in Houston, Texas which helps children dealing with social-emotional challenges find success in school and life. She has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H from Harvard and is a practicing child psychoanalyst certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Formerly, she was the Director of the Reading and Learning Disabilities Clinic at Tufts University, Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard, and Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University. She learned the inner workings of dog show kennels by writing an authorized oral history of a lifetime President of the Poodle of Club of America. Her writing awards include the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Prize and the Women in Film and Television Short Script Competition.

When not at The New School, Diane and her writing partners, a Standard Poodle named Misty and a rescue cat named Elvira, convene at the keyboard to share great thoughts and plan the dinner menu.

Connect with her:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Where to buy the book:


Almost Perfect Trailer V1-2 from Kaizen Marketing on Vimeo.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for listening to ALMOST PERFECT and reviewing it. I love Audible books myself, as I can find time to listen in the car and other times when I can't read. Your descriptions of Benny and Bess made them "come alive." Many thanks.