Friday, March 27, 2020

Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry – A Book Review

Dave Barry is to the written word what Larson and Jim Unger are to the single frame cartoon. He sees the world in all its lunacy from a different perspective and puts it into side-splitting print. If you haven’t read his Complete Guide to Guys, you owe it to yourself.

Lessons from Lucy is a more serious yet still funny look at what he has learned from his old dog Lucy, who is far happier in her old age than he is in his.  He turned 70 in 2017.

How can Dave Barry be 70? I thought he just turned 50 the other day. Of course, I think I just turned 50 the other day too. As another old man (70 in 2017) with an old dog, I learned a great deal from this book, which really applies to all ages.

Dave is subject to all the usual human foibles some of which increase with age. Lucy is not and is therefore spared the angst that goes with them. He learns seven lessons from Lucy. How he learns them makes for very funny reading. He says the lessons are not new, they are obvious and common sense. “Maybe I could learn something useful about happiness from my aging but consistently joyful dog. . . My problem is not that I didn’t know these things, it’s that I’ve done a lousy job of using what I know.”

1.       Make new friends (and keep the one’s you have).
2.       Don’t stop having fun (and if you have stopped, start having fun again).
3.       Pay attention to the people you love. (Not later. Right now).
4.       Let go of your anger unless it’s about something really important which it almost never is.
5.       Try not to judge people by their looks, and don’t obsess over your own.
6.       Don’t let your happiness depend on things; they don’t make you truly happy and you’ll never have enough anyway.
7.       Don’t lie unless you have a really good reason which you probably don’t.

He learned one more lesson, this time from his daughter but reinforced by Lucy. You’ll need your Kleenex out for this last chapter. Spoiler, it ends happy.

Be grateful for what you have (it’s probably more than you think).

These are the kinds of lessons you never truly master but must always work at improving every day


  1. Hey, I just turned 50 too, hahahahahaha! I used to read Dave Barry's column in the newspaper all the time back in the 80s? 90s? And I read one or two of his books too. This one sounds good -- thanks for the reading tip!

  2. I am extremely grateful for what I have, and for a lot of positive thoughts during this very horrible time. I've read a number of Dave Barry\s books, they are super, so I'll have to look for this one. An old dog can teach us a lot.... Our TessaDog takes each day as it comes, which is exactly what I am doing right now.

  3. Sounds like a Buddhist dog.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  4. Debra, you are welcome.
    Shammickite, we can learn so much from dogs. Like taking each day as it comes.
    O'l Buzzard, you may be right about that. Never thought of it


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