Book Review: The Angel On My Shoulder

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Jolene Mercadante’s book, The Angel On My Shoulder: My Life with an American Pit Bull Terrier, but I must admit, it’s one of the most touching things I’ve read in a very long time.

jolene mercadante 

Jolene’s poignant tribute to Rumer, her beautiful vanilla American Pit Bull Terrier, chronicles the dog’s life from the day Jolene and her partner Cheryl selected her, until her last breath some twelve and a half years later.

The story paints a vividly colorful picture of life with Rumer and the amazing relationships she forged with everyone around her. Rumer wasn’t merely a dog… wasn’t merely a Pit Bullshe was a family member and a true ambassador of her breed.
Jolene’s writing speaks of the way Rumer changed her and made her a better person, and she writes it in a way that will ring true with anyone who’s ever been owned by a Pit Bull. I found myself identifying so closely with almost everything Jolene wrote because I’ve been there. I’ve experienced it with my own girl. I know that it’s authentic because I live it every single day with The Lazy One.
The book is a very easy, enjoyable read until you get to the last 30 or 40 pages, as Jolene describes Rumer’s illness, her last months and weeks, and finally her last day. Like most dog mommas, I can’t bear to think about the day my girl will no longer be with me, and to be a part of Jolene’s experience, well, it’s just heart wrenching. 
{I have to admit, I was bawling pretty much non-stop through those pages!}
But death is part of life. When we bring these dolls into our lives and homes, we know we’ll most assuredly outlive them, and we wonder why on earth God would choose to give us such wondrous companions with such brief expiration dates.
Jolene knows that as hard as Rumer’s death has been on her, she is far better for the time they spent together, and she would do it all again. She knows that what she learned from a goofy girl with a laughing grin has impacted her and still impacts her, and there is passion and purpose in her days because of Rumer.
It’s the way my girl has changed me. It’s all about the spark these dogs ignite deep within us, and the magical way they have of spurring us to action on their behalf.
Jolene and Cheryl went on to add two new Pit Bull dolls to their family after Rumer’s passing, and they still use every opportunity they get to advocate for the breed.
This book is a must-read for anyone who calls herself a Pit Bull lover. It will warm your heart and remind you why we fight the battle for our dogs every day. It’s available in hardback or paperback, and also as an e-book. 
Have you already read the book? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment below!


*This is an affiliate link, which means that I might receive a small commission if you use this link to purchase the book. You are not obligated to make your purchase using this link but if you do, it might mean a fancy new toy for my dog!

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Christina Berry

Christina is a wife, mom, Virtual Assistant and Social Media Strategist, Pet Lifestyle Blogger, movie lover, recovering Diet Dr. Pepper addict, and planner junkie. She loves helping bloggers and handmade shop owners create successful businesses, and enjoys advocating for pets by volunteering with her local humane society and a Pit Bull rescue. Learn more about Christina and the mission of The Lazy Pit Bull here.

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  1. Emily says

    I’ve not seen this book and am definitely adding it to my reading list… of course I’m going to try and win it from your facebook page too!

  2. Lois Ann Lachtara says

    I have the good fortune of knowing Jolene, Cheryl, and all the wonderful people mentioned in this great book. The shining star however, is Rumer. Jolene has produced an exceptional tribute to a wonderful canine member of a wonderful family! Due to the fact that I witnessed much of Rumers life does not, in any way cause me to be biased in my review of this book. In fact, it most likely makes me a very truthful critic. My history with animal companions is extensive. My beloved canines have included German Shepherds, an American Boarder Collie, Cocker Spaniels, and a West Highland White Terrier. Before knowing Rumer I had never met a Pit Bull. Jolene relates a story of a happy, much loved and intelligent, and gentle dog. What a great gift I was given every time Rumer crawled on to my lap and covered my face with her awesome doggie kisses! In all honesty, I have never met a dog that just loved being part of this wonderful family. She smiled constantly as she rode the No. 8 with Gramma, swam in the pond with the ducks, or in the pool with Paul. She relished the Halloween costumes as well as riding in the Fourth of July parade on the family compound. Of course, in patriotic costume! This book is not just another book about a much loved pet. It is a book about family and the love shared among them. It is a heart warming story of animals and people and facing life with all its trials and joys as a family! This family just happens to share their love with dogs, horses, ducks, birds and even wildlife that on occasion wanders out of the woods…just to see what’s going on! I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is factual, entertaining and will delight the reader to laughter as well as tears. Jolene is a strong advocate for Pitt Bulls as well as all animals. Don’t miss reading this delightful book. You will never forget Rumer nor will I.

  3. says

    Lois, thank you for this wonderful review of the book! How lucky you were to know Rumer! I think I would’ve been great friends with her and her moms! I’m so appreciative of everything Jolene and Cheryl are doing for the good of this breed. Thanks for stopping by today, and please visit again!

  4. Lois Ann Lachtara says

    Christina, They are wonderful people and Rumer was unique! You would love each and every one of them! When they got the little Andalusian Filly, Rumer just took it upon herself to play with and guard this horse. Her name is Princessa de ( something Spanish!) They call her Cessa.. To watch Rumer and Cessa playing ball together, made my soul sing! I am so glad you liked the book…There is absolute honesty there. Jolene bares her soul. Thanks for getting back to me. I will visit your site many times in the future…..I’m sure!

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