Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pound for Pound by Shannon Kopp (Book Review)

Pound for Pound by Shannon Kopp
Publisher: William Morrow / HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Format: Hardcover - 288 pages / Paperback - Pub Date: July 26, 2016
               Kindle - 3472 KB
ISBN: 978-0062370228
Genre: Memoir

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Description:

The brave, inspiring story of one woman's recovery from a debilitating eating disorder, and the remarkable shelter dogs who unexpectedly loved her back to life.

“The dogs don’t judge me or give me a motivational speech. They don’t rush me to heal or grow. They sit in my lap and lick my face and make me feel chosen. And sometimes, it hits me hard that I'm doing the exact thing I say I cannot do. Changing.” 

Pound for Pound is an inspirational tale about one woman’s journey back to herself, and a heartfelt homage to the four-legged heroes who unexpectedly saved her life.

For seven years, Shannon Kopp battled the silent, horrific, and all-too-common disease of bulimia. Then, at twenty-four, she got a job working at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, where in caring for shelter dogs, she found the inspiration to heal and the courage to forgive herself. With the help of some extraordinary homeless animals, Shannon realized that her suffering was the birthplace of something beautiful. Compassion.

Shannon’s poignant memoir is a story of hope, resilience, and the spiritual healing animals bring to our lives. Pound for Pound vividly reminds us that animals are more than just friends and companions—they can teach us how to savor the present moment and reclaim our joy. Rich with emotion and inspiration it is essential reading for animal lovers and everyone who has struggled to change.

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt from Pound For Pound: A Story of One Woman's Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life By Shannon Kopp 

At 7 a.m., my name was called for "Morning Vitals." Light poured in through the windows and I begrudgingly changed out of my boyfriends T-shirt into a white paper gown. I wanted to sleep more. I wanted coffee. I wanted to kiss Danny. I wanted to kill the shepherd-eyes woman, who was now sleeping peacefully. Apparently, it wasn't her turn yet for vitals. 

I followed a nurse across the hall to a freezing cold, windowless room. The nurse wasn't a pretty woman, but her teeth were straight and white enough to make me wonder if they were bleached. She had pale green eyes and bright purple scrubs on, looking far too colorful for this place.

After closing my eyes and stepping on the scale (we weren't allowed to know our own weight), I sat down on a table padded with the butcher paper. An air conditioner hummed somewhere in the background. The nurse took my temperature and looked inside my eyes, ears, and mouth. I was self-conscious of my breath, as I hadn't brushed my teeth yet.

She asked me questions about how I felt physically. I listened and responded politely, even though hate crawled in my blood. All I could think about was how I didn't want to be weighed every day in this stupid paper gown, how I didn't want to be around these women moving peas around their plate like children and tottering on bony legs and weeping in wheelchairs.

"I need to take your blood now," the nurse said, asking for my arm.

My irritation melted into fear. I bit my lip and anxiously told the nurse how much I hated giving blood. "Is it really necessary?" I pressed.

"It will just take a minute. I promise I'm very good at this."

I don't care if you're good at this. I don't want to do it.

She tightened an elastic band around my arm and tried to distract me. "So, where are you from?" she asked.

"California," I said. I stared at the white wall in the opposite direction.

"Oh, I've been there once. I love the ocean, so peaceful."

I took a deep breath and braced myself for the prick of the needle, telling myself not to be a wuss, but still the knee-jerk reaction happened anyway. Just before she inserted the syringe, I pulled my arm away and hissed, "No!"

The nurse gave me a gentle smile, seeming a little entertained by my response. I held my arm near my chest, feeling stupid.

"You weren't kidding, huh?" she said. "It's okay, dear. Let's just talk for a minute. Okay?"


"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" she asked.


"Brother or sister?"

"Sister. Her name is Julie."

I thought of Julie then as a child. At our doctor's appointments, I always made her go first whenever we needed shots. She'd stick her skinny arm out and say, "See, Shan, it's not scary." Then when the needle was inserted, she'd smile in an effort to show me it wasn't so bad, the right side of her lip curling up more than her left.

For the past twenty-four hours, I hadn't talked much and kept to myself. I walked around quietly nodding my head and doing what I was told. But now I found myself telling the nurse how much I missed my sister. How in my eyes, she'd always been the stronger one of the two of us.

"Maybe, when your time gets hard here, you can think of Julie," the nurse said. "Think of how it will be to spend time with her with this awful disease off your back. Think of how much more present you'll be." 

Even though she was trying to help me, what I heard was that I had not been present for Julie, the little girl with watery blue eyes who was now battling her own demons as an adult. Her story is not mine to tell, but suffice it to say that she'd recently needed me in a big way, and I hadn't been there. She needed someone now to make her less afraid, to hold out their arm and take a shot for her first. But I was busy in California puking my brains out.

To be there for Julie without the background noise of food obsession -- I'd never let myself imagine it before. Perhaps because I couldn't imagine it. And at that thought, a bomb of tears went off in the center of my chest. There was no way to redirect the emotion, nothing I could stuff into my mouth or force out of my body to make me forget how ashamed I was.

All I could do was sit in the arms of a nurse I never learned the name of, sobbing into her warm shoulders for five minutes, maybe ten. I cried so hard that tears fell down my face and made my paper gown translucent in some places, the material ripping.

She held me tight as the waves of grief passed through me. I felt like if I needed to sit there and cry for another hour in her arms, she would have let me.

But I didn't cry for another hour. I finally lifted my head and wiped my eyes and extended my arm. For the first time in my life, I stared directly at the syringe.

I watched the dark blood seep out of me.

© 2016 Excerpt from Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman's Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life by Shannon Kopp Courtesy of William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

My Book Review:

Pound for Pound is an inspirational and compelling memoir that follows author Shannon Kopp's journey to recovery from the debilitating disease of bulimia through the healing power of the loving shelter dogs that she cared for at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.

As a dog lover who has adopted shelter and rescue dogs, I couldn't help but become captivated by Shannon's story. Shannon takes the reader on her emotional journey of recovery as she recounts her seven year battle with bulimia, and the inspiration from working with the shelter dogs that led her on the road to overcome her addiction, heal, and move forward with her life.

Pound for Pound is a beautifully written and very moving memoir that documents the sobering struggle that Shannon endured in her life while battling the disease of bulimia, and how her work with the shelter dogs (specifically pit bulls) gave her the hope, inspiration, and resilience to heal as she traveled down the path to recovery. You can't help but feel compassion and empathy as Shannon's story unfolds, your heart will explode with joy as she describes how working with the shelter dogs provided the best medicine that led to her recovery. There is nothing like the unconditional love and devotion that a dog provides to a person, nothing else can compare!

Pound for Pound is a wonderful story of hope and redemption that will tug at the heartstrings and stir the soul.


Book Trailer

About The Author

Shannon Kopp
is a writer, eating disorder survivor, and animal welfare advocate. She has worked and volunteered at various animal shelters throughout San Diego and Los Angeles, where shelter dogs helped her to discover a healthier, more joyful way of living. Her mission is to help every shelter dog find a loving home, and to raise awareness about eating disorders and animal welfare issues.

Author Website

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