Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy.

I wanted to read this book because of the dogs. However, the book starts with a kidnapping of a dog and I don’t like people being mean to dogs so I set it aside for a while. I’m glad I came back to it though.

Bess has devoted her life to breeding Standard Poodles. Now she is dismantling her operation and no one knows why. Benny wants a dog. He figures that Poodles aren’t real dogs but his neighbor’s dogs are the closest thing he has. When he finds out that McCreery is a champion dog he decides that he wants him. Dog shows are on TV and his mom will like it if Benny gets on TV.

The author does a good job of writing Benny as a mildly autistic kid with rages and all the problems that it causes. I’ve read reviews that say that he is too annoying but as the stepmother of a child like Benny, trust me, she got it right.

This would be a good book to read before watching the Westminster Dog Show this month.

Author’s Bio:

Diane Daniels Manning is the co-founder and director of The New School in the Heights, a therapeutic school in Houston, Texas which helps children dealing with social-emotional challenges find success in school and life. She has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H from Harvard and is a practicing child psychoanalyst certified by the American Psychoanalytic Association. Formerly, she was the Director of the Reading and Learning Disabilities Clinic at Tufts University, Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Harvard, and Chair of the Department of Education at Tulane University. She learned the inner workings of dog show kennels by writing an authorized oral history of a lifetime President of the Poodle of Club of America. Her writing awards include the Faulkner-Wisdom Novella Prize and the Women in Film and Television Short Script Competition.

When not at The New School, Diane and her writing partners, a Standard Poodle named Misty and a rescue cat named Elvira, convene at the keyboard to share great thoughts and plan the dinner menu.

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​Prize: ​
Giving away 13 copies of Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning (5 print copies – USA only, 5 ebook copies and 3 audiobooks from Audible – international) and one $25 Amazon Gift Card (open international)
​ Ends Feb 20, 2015​

You can also win one $50, $25 or $10 Amazon Gift Card on author’s website.
​The author will ask a question about the book as an entry.​

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Featured image from here.