I’m sharing my review on World Kindness Day for this thought provoking book, about the true events of what happened when Harry met Minnie and Martha. Thank you to Octopus Books for the review copy. The book has recently been published in paperback.
There are true fairy tales. Stories that exist because impossible-to-explain coincidences change everything. Except in real life, not all of them have conventional, happily-ever-after endings. When Harry Met Minnie is that kind of fairy tale, with the vibrant, romantic New York City backdrop of its namesake, the movie When Harry Met Sally, and the bittersweet wisdom of Tuesdays with Morrie.
There’s a special camaraderie among early-morning dog walkers. In this special space and time, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance changed Martha Teichner’s world.As fate would have it, her friend knew someone who was dying of cancer, from exposure to toxins after 9/11, and desperate to find a home for her dog, Harry. He was a Bull Terrier, the same breed as Martha’s dear Minnie. Martha agrees to meet Harry andhis owner Carol. What begins as a transaction involving a dog becomes a deep and meaningful friendship between two women with complicated lives and a love of Bull Terriers in common. Through the heartbreak and grief of Carol’s illness, the bond that develops changed Martha’s life, Carol’s life, Minnie’s life, Harry’s life. As it changed Carol’s death as well.
Loneliness as a topic is becoming more and more prominent – especially in these uncertain times. This book explores what can happen when we take the time to talk to those around us. This is a memoir of love and loss, of being in the right place at the right time, and of the mysterious ways a beloved pet can bring people together.
“I decided to write this book, because I didn’t want to stop living the story of what happened when Harry met Minnie. I didn’t want to forget any of it, even the sad parts. This story of unexpected friendship, of love, was a wonderful gift, and in the end, it made me and Minnie happy.”
– Martha Teichner, CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and multi-award-winner.
I must admit that the picture of the book ‘sold’ this book to me. As a dog adopter myself, I was keen to find out who Harry and Minnie were. As ‘a Brit’, I had never heard of Martha Teichner, but after reading this, I feel as if I would love to meet her, to hear more of her stories about her work and her love of dogs.
But back to the book. Martha is introduced to Carol and her bull terrier, Harry by a mutual friend, Stephen who knows that Carol is looking for someone to care for Harry due to her terminal cancer diagnosis. The first meetings between Harry and Minnie, Carol and Martha made me chuckle in places as everyone wondered whether the two dogs would be happy to spend time together. This time also enabled Carol and Martha to build a friendship, to share stories about their careers and their love for their dogs.
The book is also heartbreaking, as Carol becomes more poorly and her friends try to make her last days as comfortable as possible. However, the uplifting part of the story is how the friends became a ‘family’, looking out for each other and helping when times are tough. Happy to recommend as a book about the power of friendship and kindness, for humans and dogs alike.
Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since December 1993. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including 11 Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and five James Beard Foundation Awards.
Martha has reported on some of the largest national and international stories of this era, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the run-up to the war in Iraq, the death of Princess Diana and the life and death of Nelson Mandela. She’s interviewed world leaders and other newsmakers, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton.
Now based in New York, Teichner spent more than a dozen years as a foreign correspondent covering major international news. Teichner was twice assigned to the CBS News London bureau (1980-1984, 1989-1994), covering the Northern Ireland hunger strikes, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and was one of only a handful of female war correspondents.
Teichner covered the Lebanon War, the 1st Intifada in 1988 in Israel and the West Bank, embedded with the US First Armored Division in the Persian Gulf War, covered the conflicts associated with the collapse of Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia) and spent three years in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. She reported on the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Romanian revolution. Teichner also spent several weeks in the Bolivian jungle covering undercover operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.