Friday, November 2, 2012

Wallace by Jim Gorant

Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls - One Flying Disc at a Time

by Jim Gorant

2 stars - it's complicated, see review

I wish I could have given this book more than two stars, but I'm trying to be honest here. 

There's good news and bad news. I'll start with the good news.

Wallace is a pit bull whose life nearly ended more times than once early on. He had a bad start after which he was put into a shelter where he did not fare well. Not only did Wallace suffer from breed discrimination, but he had behavioral issues which put him at risk of forever being labeled a dangerous dog which would have ended his life.

Thanks to the dedication of Roo Yori and his wife, Wallace's true calling in life was discovered. Roo and his wife took in Wallace, issues and all, and found that the perfect release for his drive and energy was to participate in the sport of dog Frisbee. 

Sounds great, right? The problem is that Jim Gorant is the author. I tried to read Mr. Gorant's book about Michael Vick's dogs and I had to put it aside about halfway through. Why? Because Mr. Gorant's writing lacks heart. 

Jim Gorant is a sportswriter by trade and his writing style feels more like an article in Sports Illustrated than a story about dogs, humans, and how their devotion to each other can make miracles happen. I almost didn't finish Wallace. That's how dispassionate the writing was. 

The focus on the competition, the winning, overshadowed the emotional parts of the story for most of the book. Even when writing about the sacrifices made by Roo for his dog, the love of Roo and the bond he had with Wallace, there was something missing. In fact something so seriously missing that I began to wonder if Roo himself was more focused on competing and winning than in salvaging Roo and giving him a great life. 

A quick trip to Wallace's YouTube site set my mind at rest on that question. Sure, the competition videos are amazing, but what I really enjoyed were the videos of Wallace going through his bucket list (now that he is, I believe, retired from competition). Roo did a short PR movie of Wallace (you can watch it here) and that is the video that reassured me that there really is a special bond between Wallace and Roo. 

There are several videos of Wallace performing. It's awesome stuff. You can watch a sample here.

In summary. Great story. Not so great book.


  1. Great story, writing sucked. Goes to show you what the author finds important, overlooking the value of more life messages. Which means he was too self absorbed in his views to see other themes that could have been developed more, given more time and introspection and consideration on how to elevate those themes in importance. In other words, he played them down or ignored them, ignoring an entire audience of people looking for the human (figurativeely speaking) element. No i did not read the book. But sadly i know this kind of author. Makes me wonder why i dont write for reals, ie for a living.

  2. Thanks for another review - well-written! Sorry this book was not better written, however, although the premise is a great one. Did not yet check out the vids but glad to hear they revealed a special relationship between doggeh and owner! Going to visit those movies now!

  3. I think I gave this 3 stars. Since it was a gift, I felt I had to make the lady who gave it to me feel better about having given it to me. I liked the story, but did feel that the author dragged it out at times. Still, I was happy to visit the Wallace websites and assure myself that he was indeed a well loved dog, in the end.

  4. Yep, for once the films were better than the book, it appears. Followed links to several of his videos, but most seem to be from mid-2000's, as in 5 or 6 years old. Hope Wallace is still seizing the day, or the frisbee.