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Sonoma County Gazette
The Andie Chronicles

Book Review: The Andie Chronicles

Oct 23, 2017
by Diane McCurdy, Film and Book Reviews


When Forestville was founded in the 1800’s it was described as a Bohemian mecca for writers and artists. A guidebook sketch would indicate that it is located at the confluence of the Russian River, Mark West Creek and the Laguna de Santa Rosa nestled amongst apple orchards and grape vineyards and adjacent to the towering redwoods and the mighty Pacific to the west. But, if one
really wants to know the heart and soul of the area pick up Forestville resident Michael Browne’s book The Andie Chronicles. Browne, a poet, professor and artist travels the byways of his neighborhood and ruminates on the mysteries of life and the wonders of love as personified by his little black cocker spaniel,Andie.

The author grieving the death not only of a life partner but that of another well-loved pooch is gifted this small pup. She has fur so dark and glossy that it is worthy of a shampoo commercial and large soulful brown eyes. Referred to variously as a dog angel, Mensa dog and cuteness magnet, she accompanies the author as they prowl around their
village. She retrieves things like apples and plums and cigarette butts, some treasures to be tasted other to be hoarded and saved. Browne attempts to explain to Andie the binary social division that eerily resembles a neo-feudal characteristic of late-stage capitalism. But, Andie just gives him an ironic and pitiful look. Although the reader is made aware of other deep profundities mostly we are elevated to be active participants in the relentless changing of seasons and the glories of nature.The Andie Chronicles is part memoir, part commentary but it reads like poetry because of the rich imagery:

“The golden hills of California in out area are now emerald-hued. It is so beautiful looking across the valley to see the rolling landscape of green hills and the colorful tapestry of that decorates it with red, gold, bronze and purple....acres of grape vines turned yellow stretch for miles...”

Even with the mention of popular cultural icons and political opinions there is a mystical element laced with melancholy inherent throughout. Almost fifty color photographs enhance the already luxurious text, this is a book for dog lovers, nature lovers and all those overwhelmed with the phenomenon that is Mother Earth.


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