Readers' Advisory Matrix
Title: Gizelle's Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog
Author: Lauren Fern Watt
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Where is the book on the narrative continuum?
Highly narrative (reads like fiction)
What is the subject of the book?
The subject is raising a dog (English Mastiff) and the relationship that exists between humans and animals.
What type of book is it?
A memoir of the life of an English Mastiff.
What is the pacing of the book?
The pacing is leisurely, but it is hard to put this book down.
Describe the characters of the book.
The characters are Gizelle, a 160-pound English Mastiff and her owner, Lauren Watt (author). The reader follows Lauren through her early twenties as she goes to college and moves to New York and the life lessons she learns along the way. Other members of the story include: Lauren's mother who struggles with an addiction; Lauren's father who takes a road trip with her and Gizelle; and other family members and close friends.
How does the story feel?
The story is sad, comforting, inspirational and courageous. Anybody who has ever loved and lost a dog can relate and feel the connection with the story.
What is the intent of the author?
To share her experience with loving and caring for her dog and what she learned along the way.
What is the focus of the story?
The focus of the story is making life for Gizelle (and Lauren for that matter) count as her health is declining. Lauren prepares a bucket list for Gizelle as her gift back to such a loyal and faithful companion.
Does the language matter?
Yes, the language plays a big role in adding to the story. It is very descriptive and reads like a narrative of Lauren's life and her relationship with her dog.
Is the setting important and well described?
The setting changed in the story depending on where Lauren was living or experiencing life, including the activities involved in Gizelle's bucket list. The description of the settings added to enhance the story when needed. The story progressed over a 6-year period beginning when Lauren was nineteen.
Are there details and if so, of what?
The story is full of details, like why her mom wants to get her a puppy, the smell of puppy breath and the reason for the strain between her parents. The reader sees what it was like to live with this enormous dog with a lot of personality and describes the relationships between Lauren and others.
Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials ? Are they useful and clear?
There are pictures of Gizelle (and sometimes with Lauren) on the inside of the front and back book covers along with a picture at the beginning of each chapter. The images are useful because it illustrates the size and character of Gizelle through these pictures.
Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience?
The reader sees Lauren love her dog unconditionally, but also how to love others unconditionally as well. The reader also sees Lauren evolve into an adult as she learns to experience life.
Why would a reader enjoy this book?
1. Love for animals
2. A sentimental journey
3. Learning about yourself and others