Aug 3, 2015

Book Review: The Reinvention of Albert Paugh by Jean Davies Okimoto

First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted weekly by Bibliophile by the Sea. Share the first paragraph of your current read. Also visit Teaser Tuesdays meme hosted by Jenn.
The Reinvention of Albert Paugh by Jean Davies Okimoto, published by Endicott and Hugh Books (July 23, 2015)

First paragraph, first chapter:

Al didn't quite know how he got sidetracked. He'd never thought of himself as an impulsive person, it was rare that he did anything without thinking it through and he certainly had every intension of taking Bert, his chocolate Lab, to Point Robinson. It was a beautiful fall day and Bert was eager to get to the beach were he loved to swim and retrieve his rubber frog.Of course, Al was supposed to get exercise, too. But instead of going to the beach like he'd told Eleanor he'd be doing - the past eighth months he'd been very dutiful about always letting his wife know his whereabouts - somehow, he inexplicably ended up going in the opposite direction...

A quote/teaser from chapter 2:
"I'm flunking retirement, Martha Jane.""You're doing what, Albert?""I'm flunking retirement. My retirement is a failure, it's not going well at all.""Oh, my. that doesn't sound good." 
My comments: 
Al Paugh retires and sells his veterinary practice on Vashon Island, Washington, after his heart attack and surgery, urged on by his wife Eleanor. When Al finds himself alone, retired from a practice he loved, he has only his faithful dog Bert to rely on. 

Retirement doesn't sit well with Al. He misses his practice and taking care of animals, he has to sell the house he and his wife had for years, and he has to learn to be alone. This is the story of what and how he does, how Al, in spite of being pulled in different directions in the beginning,  "reinvents" himself after retirement, with a little help from his dog and old friends. Al goes through a lot of changes; it's not a predictable story though he does find new love.. 

I enjoyed the book, as I did the author's previous one, Walter's Muse. Besides interesting and unusual characters, the book has many insightful thoughts, ideas, and observations about getting old, retiring, and finding new meaning in life, with help from people on sometimes rocky roads. I gave this a five star and think everyone would enjoy it -young or old, working or retired.  
Jean Davies Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into seven languages. Her many awards include Smithsonian Notable Book, the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor’s Award and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award. She has appeared on CNN, Oprah, and The Today Show. Jeanie, a retired psychotherapist, and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004 where they (and their dogs Bert and Willie) are visited by deer families and their six grandchildren. Visit her at

The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is the third book in Jean Davies Okimoto’s Island Trilogy, following The Love Ceiling and Walter’s Muse

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for a review copy of the book. 
For the full tour schedule, see more reviews.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Sounds somewhat sad, but I think I would like to read it. Thanks for sharing.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian said...

Sounds like a relatable story with earnest characters. I'm putting this series on my TBR list.

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like an interesting book. I like the opening. I wonder where he is going instead of the beach!

I remember when my dad retired--how well he took to it. My mom had a harder time. In fact, she's back to substituting and volunteers quite often at the school she used to teach. Of course, it's just her now. If my dad were still alive, I imagine they'd be doing a lot of traveling together.

Harvee said...

He went to see the office of his old veterinary practice, which he had reluctantly given up.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This sounds like an intriguing story....I am always fascinated by how people adjust to new circumstances, especially retirement. Men seem to have a harder time of it, although there are, of course, exceptions.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Margot said...

I'm reading this one too for the tour. I'm only in the first chapter, but already I'm pulling for Albert and his dog. I'm glad to hear you liked it.

JoAnn said...

I like the intro and would give it a try!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Since Vashon Island is just a short drive from my house, and since my husband recently retired, this sounds like a book I'd definitely enjoy! Thanks for introducing me to this writer and for stopping by my blog today.

thecuecard said...

I do love stories with dogs in them. Nice book cover too!

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I love a book that can appeal to such a wide audience!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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