I picked up this little book (140 pages, 152 with the post-script) at BEA this year. Being a sucker for any books about dogs, this one seemed right up my alley and with Angel staring out from the cover, I knew I had to read it.
The book is narrated through a series of letters from Angel to her adoptive family and covers her life with Martin Levin and Paula. While I loved the idea of Angel narrating this tale, for the first half of the book, I was confused about the relationship between Paula and Mr. Levin. It wasn’t clear how the two were related, it is simply made clear they share a house but live in separate rooms. Initially, I thought Paula might be Mr. Levin’s daughter, but a Google search showed me that Paula is his assistant/home aide. I was also put off by the fact that Angel always calls her new family, “Paula” and “Mr. Levin.” To me, this indicates a distance between Angel and her new puppy parents. Why is Paula called by her first name but the male figure always with the prefix of “Mr.”? A small detail, to be sure, but enough to nag me throughout the book.
The story itself is in the same vein as Marley and Me, but it did not reach out to me in the same way Marley and Me did. It is a moving story of a dog who gets a second chance at life and who has many fine mishaps and adventures in the five years she spends with her new family. Dog lovers will enjoy Angel’s story and will find themselves wondering about their own pet’s internal monologue. I recommend this for fans of Marley and Me and The Art of Racing in the Rain. While I don’t think Letters from Angel matches either of those two books in style or narration; it’s a short, sweet story that will remind you to hug your pet everyday.