Rating:

gizelle's bucket list book coverReviewed by Sarah Dalton

Gizelle’s Bucket List was a fun, fast read. I laughed, a lot. OK, right up until I needed tissues and a couple days away from the book for my mental health. The story centers on Lauren (Fernie) and Gizelle, her 160 pound Mastiff. Woven around this central pillar are ribbons of side story about family dynamics, friendships, adventure, boyfriends, love (or at least like), loss, self-discovery, and slobber. Lots and lots of slobber. Actually, there is really only one story about slobber. It’s not bad.

We get to be with Fernie when, at the behest of her Mother, she finds, falls in love with, and brings home Gizelle. Leave to get doughnuts, come home with a giant breed puppy. Honestly, it sounds like something I would do. The story takes us through pivotal moments of Fernie’s life, Gizelle almost constantly by her side. Stories that involve her Mother’s battles with addiction, her parents divorce, her move to New York City. We also get to see non-pivotal moments. All the everyday stories that make up a life. Things like dressing up in Panda Suits for Halloween with a friend, apartment hunting in New York City, the random interactions she had with the people in her neighborhood.

Lauren’s writing is very friendly and open. I felt welcomed into her experience of great love and dedication with her Gizelle. It made it all that much harder when Gizelle’s bucket list had its final entry. This book is a lovely homage to a faithful and unconditionally loving companion. It is also a sweet story of growth, self-realization, and discovery for the author. If you don’t mind stories that require some tissues then I would highly suggest reading Gizelle’s Bucket List. Also, it really made me want a Mastiff.


Sarah is a wife, Mom, personal chef, avid reader, sometimes writer, all around smart ass, and lover of life. She maintains her sanity in the hectic life of raising two special needs kids by drinking vast amounts of coffee, small amounts of wine, laughing often, telling lots of jokes (occasionally poorly timed, often thoroughly inappropriate), and appreciating her husband because he’s a rock star Dad and partner.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.