A Love Story

Non-Fiction - Biography
218 Pages
Reviewed on 11/19/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Millie! A Love Story by Louis and Roseanne Lavalle is a warm and inspiring tale of unconditional love, commitment, and sacrifice where dog lovers will get to know Millie, one Yorkshire Terrier, and her parents. Yorkshire Terriers are lap dogs and they prefer constant companionship as much as possible by being with their humans; in the same room, in the same car, and even the same bed. The extraordinary love story between the authors and Millie began in a pet store in Lexington Avenue in March 2005. The book chronicles the journey of Millie since the time she joined the family, filled their lives with joy and happiness, and changed their lives forever. This beautiful story of pure love captures how the authors grew with her and found unceasing happiness being with her.

Louis and Roseanne Lavalle are vocal when it comes to talking about Millie and the time she spent with them and have shared all the minute details, both amusing and poignant, with readers, bringing them closer to Millie. The book is all things love beginning from the time Millie joined them to the times when she had control over everything they did. The chapters on Millie's cataract surgery and two leg surgeries are heartwarming and are also a reminder about how love and affection form an important part of healing when it comes to taking care of animals. Millie! A Love Story is not only for dog and animal lovers but for everyone who connects with unconditional love and affection.

Jamie Michele

Millie! A Love Story by Louis and Roseanne Lavalle is the non-fiction memoir of their life with their beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Millie. The book begins with a serendipitous trip home for Roseanne and the almost-didn't-workout seconds that, either way they panned out, would have changed their home and lives. Luckily, Roseanne brought the tiny, beautiful family addition home and once the novelty of simply having a puppy in their apartment wore off, the real work and responsibility began. Training and the difficult task of dividing time between work and Millie take its toll. A heartbreaking decision has to be made and it looks like the family of three could never be. The fight to reunite is a terrifying ordeal but the persistence of Louis and Roseanne eventually puts Millie back into their lives, and from there the story blossoms into one of absolute, unconditional love.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must make an admission: I am a cat person. I know, I know. I'm sorry! But you know what? My heart nearly exploded during the first half of Millie! A Love Story. Louis and Roseanne Lavalle gave me all the feels and then gave me more after they were able to finally settle comfortably with the newest and youngest member of the Lavalle household. The memoir has some beautiful moments of levity to balance out an emotional rollercoaster that I one hundred percent was not expecting, particularly as Millie's health issues begin to surface. The first and third-person alternating narratives made me feel all the more connected to the story and I can't imagine a pet owner who wouldn't be moved to happy tears many, many times throughout the book, nor can I believe a non-pet owner wouldn't be also. I hope others will select it also, especially those who have previously enjoyed the work of Mark Doty, Mary Miller, and Alexandra Horowitz.

Lois Henderson

As the husband and wife author team of Louis Lavalle state from the outset, Millie! A Love Story is not just a book about dogs, but it is about “one extraordinary dog”, namely Millie, a fascinating Yorkshire Terrier, named after their weekend home in Milford, Pike County, Pennsylvania. Millie! reads like a memoir of a very special close friend and companion, one who comes with papers of authenticity and origin, no less. From the very first day when Roseanne brings her home from a pet store in New York City, the result of impulse, having been swept off her feet by this little three-month-old black and platinum wonder, we realize that her fate is cast, not in anything as prosaic as stone, but in the finest gold encrusted with multilayered jewels. In short, Millie is spoiled from the start, apart from her vigorous “tough love” (lol!) training.

I savored the great care taken to render the love and warmth bestowed upon Millie from the start and that sees her through the (mis)adventures of everyday life, all the way through to her golden years when Lou and Ro nurse her through the trials and tribulations of old age and the hazards of countering incipient blindness with cataract ops. Louis and Roseanne Lavalle’s Millie! A Love Story is a tender tale, told with much devotion, that shows just how close humans and animals can grow, if only we allow them into our lives to share their innate joy and presence in this world with us. A heart-warming tale that should appeal to all ages, Millie! is a book to be treasured by both old and young.

Jon Michael Miller

Millie! A Love Story by Louis and Roseanne Lavalle will be a hit with all unabashed pet owners, and if you happen to be mommy and daddy to a Yorkshire Terrier, you will be in heaven. The book begins with the couple living and working in New York City, having some marital issues, and falling in love with a doggy in a pet store window. Along with Millie’s story comes an engaging picture of the city, later Milford, PA, and then the Gulf Coast of Florida. This threesome (the Lavalles and Millie) have been virtually inseparable since their "little princess" was purchased at age three months from that NY pet store. And we breeze through a delightfully written, straightforward, first-person, present-tense narrative—sixteen years of Millie’s immeasurable contribution to the Lavalles’ happiness. As any avid pet owner knows, having a pet is like having a child; the love and sacrifice, the joys and sorrows are much the same.

I think what I enjoyed most about this book is the authors’ uninhibited adoration for their little canine—Millie. We are not permitted to refer to her as a dog. She is Millie! Their love for her is boundless, and they are not embarrassed one iota to admit it. And though the Lavalles might not agree, in actuality, Millie could be a symbol for any adored pet. It was easy for me to substitute Archibald, a poodle-mix rescue I once owned, and Mojo, my present cat. What is extra special about this book, though, is how Millie unites the author-couple, whose relationship is uncloaked as the tale develops. They are not shy about their differences and how it often takes a third force—something mutually adored (in their case Millie)—to unite them. If you worship your pet and are not hesitant to admit it, Millie! A Love Story is an absolute must.