Jem: Lessons in Living by John Donald Middleton


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Like a lot of providers, John Donald Middleton spent many years wrapped up in his work, on the road a lot, and drinking quite a bit.  His family had grown used to him being unpredictable and unreliable.  When John’s drinking escalated to a crisis point, it was time to seek help.  He entered a recovery program.

As John entered his retirement years, he began to realize that he hadn’t been the father or the husband that he should have been.  In conjunction with his recovery, John begins mending fences between himself and his children.  When one of his sons gets a new puppy, a pug named Jem, John begins to spend a lot of time playing “grandpa” to the delightful little dog.  John has had many dogs come and go throughout his life but Jem captures his heart like no other has before.  Not only is Jem good therapy during his recovery, but spending time with Jem, gives John’s life purpose.

SPOILER ALERT –> 

John’s time with Jem was very special and he can recount all of Jem’s charm with great detail.   Jem teaches John to find joy and wonder in the world.  But when the little pug that gave John’s life 3 years of fullness is struck down, John begins to struggle with his recovery and he questions what it was all for.  Jem: Lessons in Living is an unflinching look at John’s shortcomings and struggles in life, his love for his family and his love for a very special dog.   Having and then losing Jem has made John reflect on the important things in life and try to be a better man.  This book grabbed my attention because our family owns a very special little pug too.   Her name is Paloma and she is pure loveliness, such a little cutie pie!  I do find dogs to be a great gift in life and I too have focused on my love for a dog while not coping with other struggles in life.  All I can say is thank goodness that one certain dog was there for me in one of the toughest times of my life.  I still miss her every single day as I’m sure John does with Jem.  John has taken his love for Jem and refocused his energy into good outlets for himself, his family and lots of other little pugs.  He volunteers as a foster for the pug rescue club and at the time of writing was the proud owner of 4 more pugs.  Three cheers for you John! Thanks for sharing and thanks for giving too!

A portion of the price of each of these books sold is donated to the DFW Pug Rescue Club of Texas, Inc.; for more info or to make a contribution go to DFW Pug Rescue Club.  To find out more about John and get a link to his newsletter go to www.jdmiddleton.net

I want to thank the publisher (Pious Pelican Press) for providing me with the ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.  

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