This review is for the Kindle version of Greyfriars Bobby: The Most Faithful Dog in the World by Jan Bondeson. A news story about the planned auction of the plaster model for Bobby's bronze statue mentioned the book, so some web searching led to finding the book on Amazon. A nice feature of a digital copy is to click the number for a citation note, read the citation, and hit the back arrow to go back to reading. You can do this many times! Reading this on a Mac, the last 13% of the book is all the notes and citations to document the research.
I expected something controversial and instead found a long chronological recounting of events. Fortunately, the author has a very readable style. Some choices of adjectives made me wonder if the author likes looking down a long nose at the rest of us, but I just ignored the haughty tones (snickering at one really outlandish use, so perhaps it was humor that did not translate well) and enjoyed learning the history of a favorite character (up to current day, so including events just for Bobby's statue). Numerous illustrations and photographs of old Edinburgh add visual appeal. One reason for the four stars was the text describing how the alleged Bobby I and Bobby II dogs differed in appearance, but if both visuals are in the book, why not put them together at that point? I will be disappointed if after hunting for the referred to pictures to not find both in the book, but a hunting I have to go.
Bondeson includes stories of other dogs, both faithful (Hachikō, the Japanese Akito that waited for daily for a master who had died) and independent of masters (Owney, the U.S. railway mail dog).
Who should purchase this book? Anyone interested in historical stories about dogs, and definitely anone interested in Greyfriars Bobby. Should learning that possibly two dogs were running around with the name bother someone? Well, if reading the many books with contradictory stories does not bother you (was Bobby's master a shepherd, a farmer, a night watchman, or a local policeman?), why should reading one more that has yet more versions. This one has a lot of citations for the research is the only difference.
I must have seen the Disney movie version of Greyfriars Bobby as a child because I have always loved the story. As interesting as the research presented by the author is, I do wonder if more documentation could be found hiding in old archives. I wouldn't mind finding more information because it could add to the historical events (whether or not supporting Bondeson's conclusions), and what won't change is that Greyfriars Bobby is a story about a dog (man's best friend) in Scotland (land of my heart, even if not of my forebears).