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Nicky wants a pool table. Instead he gets a dog. In How I Nicky Flynn Finally Get a Life (and a Dog), by Art Corriveau, Nicky befriends an 80 pound retired guide dog. Reggie is a German shepherd who was fired from his guide dog career by his old master, Alf Santorello. Nicky has no idea why, as Reggie is a protective and smart dog, if a little headstrong. Although Nicky never wanted Reggie in the first place, he refuses to let his mom take him back to the pound. I love this book because the plot is suspenseful, Nicky’s actions and words seem so genuine and believable, and Reggie is such an adorable, lovable dog. 

I couldn’t stop reading this book. There’s one unanswered question after another, starting with whether Nicky would learn to love Reggie. When that was cleared up, I wondered why Reggie was fired in the first place. With that case still open ended, I was unsure if Nicky’s mom would allow Reggie to stay with them. Most of the questions are answered, but only after several anxious chapters.

Nicky is a walking, talking, thinking, living person who leaps off the page. He says and does things kids would actually do. At school he sits with a weirdo, Rita. Whenever she does something embarrassing and he gets teased, he pretends he doesn’t know her, which is something that could actually happen in real life. Nicky groans and is embarrassed when his mom tries to be “cool,” but he goes along with it, which is something both moms (unfortunately) and kids also do.

Another reason I like this book was Reggie. I’m a real dog lover (sorry to all you cat people) so I love Reggie and the way he’s described. When Reggie gets confused “a big cartoon question mark appears over his head.” This means his head cocks sideways, his eyes get big and his brow furrows. His tail is gently wagging. I’ve seen that look on my dog and love the way it’s portrayed. Besides having endearing facial expressions this dog has a super strong will. He leads Nicky around the block, even when Nicky insists on going home. By disobeying his master, he somehow manages to earn Nicky several new friends. 

It was hard for me to put this book down. The characters slip off the page with ease and Reggie is so lovable. In conclusion, How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog) is a marvelous book because the story is enveloping, all the characters were real and Reggie is the cutest dog ever.


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