How Shall I Tell the Dog and other final musings by Miles Kington
The title just about says it all for this little book. It’s humourous and to the point. I knew that the author had been diagnosed with terminal cancer before reading it and I knew that the book would be funny. What I didn’t know was how graceful and courageously presented it would be.
How Shall I Tell the Dog is comprised of fictitious letters written to the author’s agent, Gill. These letters consist of ideas for another last book, which ironically (or intentionally) this book turned out to be. Every chapter is filled with funny and sometimes subtle observations about life and death and how people deal with both. From the chapter entitled The Way You Look:
Has anyone ever written a book called something like ‘The Way You Think You Look, and The Way You Really Look’?
It might be subtitled something like ‘How things got that way, and what you can do about it’.”
How Shall I Tell the Dog is filled with sly wit and humourous characterizations.
The bit of research I did on the author told me that was his usual style. He was a writer for the now defunct Punch magazine and then went on to work at the British newspaper Independent for many years. It was while there that he learned of his cancer and where his daily column was still published right up until the day he died. Despite that, this is not a sad book by any means. For all that it deals with a serious topic, this book is a nice, funny and uplifting read.