"I was very moved reading this book. At it’s essence it’s a beautifully written story about love and loss and the courage to move forward. And while the story is heartbreaking, it’s filled with humor and raw emotion making for a very engaging read. Marie is a gifted writer who bared her soul to tell this very personal story and to pay tribute to the life of someone taken far too soon."
-Elysa Pizzolato, Goodreads Review
"A heartfelt story of devotion and love."
-Mary Phelps, Warwick, RI
"Beautifully heartbreaking. Marie Sheva's honesty and hope shine through the pages of this book."
-Keryn @ Goodreads.com
"...a compelling and touching story. I found myself both laughing and crying... The Year of the Dogs is not only an intimate portrait of love and loss but also one of hope and healing. This is a must-read, not only for those whose lives have been touched by addiction, but for anyone sharing in the human condition. This is a fantastic book."
-Carrie Blake, Former Coordinator, RI Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts
"The story pulls the reader in from the very beginning ... The use of language is superb. The author has such a command of writing that you never remember you are reading. You are simply turning the pages to find out more. Though the author writes with much pathos at times, the book is not melancholy at all. The reader truly cares about the characters' lives."
-Writer's Digest Evaluation
"Marie Sheva shows the beauty, brevity and importance of the small moments of life."
-Barnes & Noble Newsletter, Warwick, RI
"Often I even laughed and cried at the same time, felt happiness and deep sorrow simultaneously, despair and love, all at once. Indeed, these things can all exist in the same space, as can the life of the present and the stories of the past. Especially when heartfelt and well told, as was the case here, to say the very least."
-Jamie Lee Beals, A Girl And Her Blog
“I read this book in one afternoon. Loved it ... Cried, laughed, cried some more…”
-Kate Garrity, Patrick's Mom, #414shine Peace
"Anyone who has ever loved someone with an addiction should read this book."
-Tammy Thomas Wardemann, Chris's Mom, Executive Director, Hope Over Addiction
"What an absolutely beautiful story of love. The author describes eloquently what it means to love freely. without judgment. Although this book deals with grief there is much joy in its pages describing finding love. It is also an honest description of loving someone who suffers from the disease of addiction. Poetic and graceful and at the same time blunt and honest."
-NYC Reader, Amazon Review
"A love story that is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. It is hard to express all the emotions one will feel while reading this book. Whether you have been touched by addiction or not, one can truly "feel" the struggles this couple faces. I saw so many similarities between my son and the author's Luke....Thank you Marie Sheva for sharing this story."
-LJC, Amazon Review
"The True Story Memoir: What Works
The art of the memoir is in taking the past and making your personal history accessible to everyone. Marie Sheva achieves this in her book “The Year of the Dogs.” She does this using inspirational and honest writing, that at times strikes real truths about being human. This, to me, is the essence of good writing. And these truths pop out at you from the text throughout the book, taking you by surprise and an element that keeps you reading.
Sadness As Connection
Ms. Sheva’s understanding of the personal and emotional landscape of feeling is evident in The Year of the Dogs, and the story timeless. I cried many times during this read, which to me is the way that I connect with something more universal. And, like all good writers, Ms. Sheva really makes you care about what happens in the story. In a way, the real life element of the story and the descriptive nature of her writing connect you to her. As a memoir should, I feel like I know the author from the inside out. But better than that, I get the feeling after reading her words that I have connected with a like-minded spirit.
Love Story Author Gets It Right
What is most remarkable about this tale is that love both precedes and prologues the sideline story of addiction. The most crucial to the point of telling a love story is to keep love first. Which what happens here. What the author ends up teaching us, in the end, is the true nature of love. The timeless, infinite, and unconditional qualities of love are present. Although I did have some qualms about chronology (time is fluid within the work), Sheva uses the form of the memoir to artfully and honestly tell us what it was like to fall in love, and lose a love, to addiction.
I highly recommend this book to addicts in recovery, to people who enjoy sad love stories, or to loved ones dealing with loss from addiction. In the end, we are never alone and can unite in our common humanity through love."
-Lee Weber, AddictionBlog.org
"This is a simple, yet beautiful love story. I shed many tears, but I also laughed out loud reading this book. It may not be for everyone, as it deals with grief after an overdose death, but that is not the core of the story. It is really just about what it means to love, in the face of all obstacles, even death. If you love dogs, you will also relate to this book and the author's journey."
-Amazon Customer Review
"This book put me in a kind of trance for a couple days after reading it. I am still struggling to find the words ... It was just visceral and real. It hit a nerve I can't define and made me feel in a way like I'm living a lie. I want to be a better person, and to have more genuine compassion. We all need to have more compassion. That was my take-away from this touching story."
-Robert W., East Greenwich, RI
"I was in my sophomore year of college when I read this book nearly 15 years ago. Marie was on campus talking to students and signing copies. I was too shy to talk to her but I stayed up that whole night and read the book cover to cover, sobbing throughout. I had been in terrible emotional pain for several months after a boy I was in love with died in car accident while under the influence. I was having thoughts of suicide and feeling completely isolated. I could relate to nearly every word Marie Sheva wrote and for the first time in a long time, I didn't feel alone. I feel like this book gave me permission to grieve. I am forever grateful."
"Thank you so much for coming to speak to our class. You were wonderful -- so many of my peers commented on what an informative and captivating speaker you were. Also, thank you for donating your book to our library. It was a story I will never forget. I feel like I can't thank you enough for your presentation. I know everyone took something away from your experience, so thank you again for sharing it."
"I want you to know that your book touched my heart and I will be passing it along to several people. Thank you for sharing your story."
"Your story was very moving for me on several levels. I lost my best friend of 17 years when she was murdered over drugs in Manchester, New Hampshire. I have been having such a difficult time with feelings of guilt - that I somehow didn't do enough or say the right things and was unable to help her. I still have horrible images of her dying alone in a terrible place with nobody who loved her around. She was part of my life for so long, and I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone to call her. Then I remember she's gone and sit and cry.
Thank you for writing your story and getting the message out to others. I will be passing your book around to all my family and friends."
"What can I say to a person who has touched my heart and soul so profoundly? The best I can do is to thank you for letting me walk with you through your joy and pain. You are a gift to the planet."