Ellen Garrison experienced life-changing events. She lost her business, her home and much of her savings. As she readily admits, her problems were not unique. After 2008, many people, not only in the US but across the world, were in similar circumstances. What to do? Ms. Garrison considered her choices. Weeping and gnashing her teeth was one of them. There was a bit of that, and then she picked herself up and wrote a book. That book, Trailer Dogs, doesn’t make the proverbial lemonade out of lemons. What it makes is closer to a few strong Margaritas.
Ms. Garrison is angry. That is understandable. She doesn’t deny her anger, she channels it. This book could have been a diatribe filled with hatred and blame. Instead, it became an acerbic comedy, akin to a stand-up routine. The author takes sharp aim at hapless targets. Fortunately, her default perspective, toward people and animals, is kindness. Harsh talk and barbs do not translate into hostile action. Quite the contrary.
I’m not a fan of stand-up comedy. Ms. Garrison’s critical observations were off-putting to me. But she won me over with her generosity, toward everyone and everything. There are characters in this book that would have tried my patience. I’m not sure I would have extended the kindness to them that she did.
If you enjoy stand-up comedy, this book is for you. If you’re sitting comfortably at home and believe you’re in no danger of losing that home, this book may be for you also. And if you’ve ever told a trailer park joke, this book is especially for you.
Ms. Garrison writes about a community that is like every other community. It has the young, the old, the eccentric, the usual. Instead of disparaging the community in which she has become an involuntary member, she embraces it. That is a tribute to her generosity and insight. I might not have enjoyed her humor, but I certainly did enjoy getting to know her.
A. G. Moore, August 2016