Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: A Dog Named Christmas

Given the fact that our readers are all finished reading book #25, A Dog Named Christmas, why not proceed with our second discussion and wrap it all up nicely? So here it is, and with the help of Kincaid’s online reading guide at www.adognamedchristmas.com:

  • Why do you think that George wants Todd to learn that “there is seldom room at our own inn for others?” (94) What does this say about George? How does this affect Todd? Does George’s thinking change by the end of the book? If so, how?
  • Bill Conner comments that people do not pick out Jake (Christmas) and own him. Rather, it is Jake who has to pick who he wants to be with. What made him pick George McCray?
  • George starts the book looking back on his life and reflecting on one memorable Christmas season, “a holiday that seemed perfect.” (7) What was it that made this holiday so good for George? What was the “Christmas” message of the book?
  • As George struggles to determine the right thing to do for Todd, he comments that sometimes the important things we do for our children will “not be given but withheld.”   What does the author mean?
  • How do you rate this novel on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=terrible, 10=fantastic)?

Oh how we just love having authors post reading guides for bookclub’ers such as ourselves, don’t we? *resounding YES WE DO* Post away and while you’re at it, how about taking this poll to help choose book #26:

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13 Responses to Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: A Dog Named Christmas

  1. maksbestfriend says:

    * Why do you think that George wants Todd to learn that “there is seldom room at our own inn for others?” (94) What does this say about George? How does this affect Todd? Does George’s thinking change by the end of the book? If so, how?

    I think that George wants Todd to know that alot of the world is not as open minded or welcoming to the strays, both human, and animals of this world. It takes someone with a very kind heart to let them in. And clearly Todd has it. George himself has to learn to open his own heart and get over his own hurt to fully welcome the dog and the change and growth in his own life. Yes he does, because he sees that the things that happened in the past can’t and shouldn’t be part and parcel of the future. You can’t carry your past experiences forward, or they will color your existance and not in a good way.

    * Bill Conner comments that people do not pick out Jake (Christmas) and own him. Rather, it is Jake who has to pick who he wants to be with. What made him pick George McCray?

    I think that Jake picked out George because he sensed that George had a broken heart, and needing mending in a way that only Jake could bring to the picture. Just as I am sure that he did with The Conners.

    * George starts the book looking back on his life and reflecting on one memorable Christmas season, “a holiday that seemed perfect.” (7) What was it that made this holiday so good for George? What was the “Christmas” message of the book?

    That he was surrounded by all that mattered in his life. The people he loved and who loved him in return. His dog. His life, uninterrupted. I can imagine that we all want that picture perfect Currier and Ives portrait of Christmas, but is that realistic? It is really all in what we make of it, and who we choose to make it with.

    * As George struggles to determine the right thing to do for Todd, he comments that sometimes the important things we do for our children will “not be given but withheld.” What does the author mean?

    That if you give your children every single thing that their hearts desire, they will never know what it is to work to achieve it for themselves. They will always expect it to be given to them in some form or function. Todd learns lessons about life and hardships of others and volunteerism and all the good things that could happen if he does some of it for himself, not have his father do it for him.

    * How do you rate this novel on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=terrible, 10=fantastic)?

    I give this 9! I really did like the style and message of this book. I love the underlying message of what is truly important about family and tradition and memories and Christmas. Heavens I am a sap.

  2. Ok, @maksbestfriend, confession to make here… I’m all aflutter over my care package just received from @Dory and won’t be posting my comments just yet. Photos/blogging on Dory’s SPECTACULAR gift swap ensues. Thank you for matching us and thanks @Dory for the thoughtful gifts! :o)))

  3. * Why do you think that George wants Todd to learn that “there is seldom room at our own inn for others?” (94) What does this say about George? How does this affect Todd? Does George’s thinking change by the end of the book? If so, how?
    My thought is that George has come to realize that people tend not to make room for others in their lives, even in someone else’s time of need. After dealing with the pain of loss earlier in his life, George has closed himself off to his own happiness. Todd seems to be affected by doing the opposite and welcoming all types of stray/wild animals into the McCray home. Finally when Todd challenges George to adopt a dog for the holidays, George is faced with “making room at the inn for others,” thus changing his feelings about opening up his heart again.

    * Bill Conner comments that people do not pick out Jake (Christmas) and own him. Rather, it is Jake who has to pick who he wants to be with. What made him pick George McCray?
    I think Jake sensed George was a lost soul dealing with emptiness, and Jake filled the void that he needed to fill.

    * George starts the book looking back on his life and reflecting on one memorable Christmas season, “a holiday that seemed perfect.” (7) What was it that made this holiday so good for George? What was the “Christmas” message of the book?
    By participating in the “Adopt a Pet for Christmas” program with the animal shelter and helping to find temporary & permanent homes for so many dogs that year, George not only found happiness within himself and for others, but he also came to see Todd transition from boy to man. With Todd’s disability, George had a hard time ever believing he would reach that maturity level, yet he was finally able to do so. The Christmas message was to make room in our hearts for those in need, including ourselves.

    * As George struggles to determine the right thing to do for Todd, he comments that sometimes the important things we do for our children will “not be given but withheld.”   What does the author mean?
    When children are handed everything they want, they no longer realize what they actually need. I think the author is trying to show that we need to teach our children how to make the distinction between wants and needs so that they will be able to make responsible decisions for themselves one day.

    * How do you rate this novel on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=terrible, 10=fantastic)?
    Rarely do I give perfect ratings for the novels that I read, but “A Dog Named Christmas” gets a 10. I really enjoyed this novel! Not only that, but my son read the book on his own and said, “This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.” To that, I couldn’t agree more. Bravo, Greg Kincaid!

  4. maksbestfriend says:

    Wow, CK read it? I am so glad that he did, will CD?

  5. @maksbestfriend – Absolutely. Both CK’s and CD will have read the book soon. How’s that for a family-oriented Christmas novel?

  6. maksbestfriend says:

    That, my friend, is a treasure, I think, to be kept and passed on.

  7. @maksbestfriend – Agreed! 🙂

  8. Looks like ‘The Friday Night Knitting Club’ is the winningest book in our poll so far. Is that our final choice? How about if we keep it open until this afternoon, then we’ll make the selection official…? Thoughts, anyone?

  9. maksbestfriend says:

    Good morning. I have it on my IPod so that makes it an easy read for me, and it has a sequel so that makes it even better if we like this book. I am in!

  10. Sounds like a perfect plan for book #26, @maksbestfriend. Wondering who else will join along? Might be slim pick’ins?

  11. maksbestfriend says:

    Three voted for the book, one was me, who were the other two, do you know? At least we haven’t given up on the group! Merry Christmas, my friend from a very snowy Oregon!

  12. Dory says:

    Well, I voted for the beach book… b/c I already I have it on the shelf. But I ordered this one so as soon as it arrives, I’ll be reading! 🙂

  13. @Dory – I’ve got the beach book on the way, so it’s not far down the road in our reading selections. Hmmm… book #27? Or will it be #28? We shall see. Meanwhile, we’ll keep you in the loop with TFNKC book, whenever it arrives on your doorstep. No worries!

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