Almost Perfect Blog Tour + Giveaway

Book Details:Book Title: Almost Perfect by Diane Daniels Manning
Category: Adult fiction, 319 pages
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Beltor
Published: January 2013
Available in: Print
 Content Rating: G

Book Description:

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.

Where to buy the book:


My Review
When I read the book summary about this book I thought it would be good. However I did not expect it to be this "good". I am so glad this book is one to be read. Share it with your friends and especially dog lover friends. They will enjoy this book and thank you for introducing them to it.

Bess and Benny are both wounded souls that found the true meaning of love and friendship. Although the rest of the characters in this story were just as good like Bess's sister and her son. In fact, no one seemed like a character but friends that I would want to have and get to know. You have to have patience, an open heart, not afraid to stand up and not have others tell you "No", and of course the right dog does not hurt either. Which speaking of dogs, McCreery and Breaker were just as great as Bess and Benny. They both are stars as well. I can not pick a favorite. Ok, I lied. I did have a favorite and it was McCreery and Breaker. They both brought something different to the story. McCreery for his knowledge and patience. Breaker for his joyous attitude and willingness to learn. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Overall, I had such an enjoyable time reading this book and would recommend it to others. It is a quick read and one that you will cherish for a long time afterwards.

Please note: Raising puppies are a lot of hard work so please don't get one unless you are ready to fully commit 100%.

Westminster Dog Show and this year that show takes place from Feb 16-17​

Meet the Author:

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.

Connect with her:

Q1. What made you want to write about the character Benny, a boy with an anger problem as well as ADHD and mild autism?
I am the founder and executive director of a special education school in Houston called The New School in the Heights. Children with issues similar to Benny’s are part of my every day world.

Q2. Is the character of Benny a real child?
Benny exists only in my imagination. He is an amalgam of many children I have had the privilege to know as a therapist and as the director of a school for special children. Actually, the children in my school usually do not have Benny’s learning difficulties, just his emotional needs.

Q3: The other main character, Bess, is a seventy year-old woman. What made you pick her to become Benny’s friend?
I am interested in women who do unusual things for their generation. The real-life model for Bess was like that. Although it doesn’t come out in the book, she was an early graduate of Columbia School of Architecture and when she graduated, the only job she could get was being a secretary.
Most books have an old man as mentor. I thought we could use a change!

Q4. The dogs in the book help both characters grow, especially the boy. What makes a good therapy dog?
Benny comes to see himself as having a special gift for the first time in his life as he masters the art of showing dogs, but, technically, the dogs in the book are not therapy dogs. Therapy dogs need to be gentle, calm, and able to handle surprises. Some breeds tend to have these characteristics more than others, but almost all breeds (and many mixed breeds) have some dogs who can qualify. Official therapy dogs must go through a vetting process.

Q5. The Town of Redding, Connecticut, where you grew up is featured strongly in ALMOST PERFECT. How did it influence your writing career?
Putnam Park, The Mark Twain Library and Gallows Hill in Redding, Connecticut, are places I knew as a child. Even back as a child reading my book on the floor of the library founded by Mark Twain, I dreamed of being a writer. Living on Gallows Hill Road also undoubtedly sparked my young imagination.

Q6. How do you handle writer’s block?
Fingers crossed, that is not a problem that has plagued me. Of course, I do get stuck briefly once in a while, and then I find the cure is to just keep typing. Almost anything will do, and the next thing I know, my next chapter is on its way.

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Margie said…
Sounds like an intriguing story. Anything with a dog on the cover catches my eye!
Thanks for the giveaway.
Linda said…
Sounds like a wonderful story. I look forward to the Westminster show every year. Thanks for the giveaway.
traveler said…
A captivating and wonderful book which is a treasure. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com
Unknown said…
Thank you again for your review of ALMOST PERFECT. I especially appreciate your reminder that puppies and dogs are not to be taken lightly!
Diane Daniels Manning

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