I received my print copy of Visting the Ghost of Puppyboy the day before I left for a fantasy vacation, and spent the whole trip reading whenever I found a free moment. What a riviting book! And, get this: it's author Rick McGranahan's autobiography--and he lived a fascinating life.
Puppyboy haunts me. For a period of three days I was a part of his life. I danced with him on a raised platform, basking in the spotlight's glow. I cheered on his efforts to find true love, and held him close when what he thought was love poofed like smoke through a closed fist. I screamed, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" when he followed the downward spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. He took me many places, introduced me to countless people, some good, some bad, many unforgettable. I laughed when he laughed, cried when he cried, begged him to lay off the drugs, and prayed that his risky lifestyle wouldn't reap long-term repercussions. I was a mourner when Puppyboy was laid to rest, admiring his determination to stay alive, and I was there when he crashed and burned, Rick rising like a Phoenix from the ashes.
Paul became my hero when he issued that ultimatum that quite possibly saved Rick's life, and I shed many happy tears when love finally came to stay. Thank you, Mr. McGranahan, for inviting me to share your adventure. The deliberate lack of editing made this tale more personal; it's a heartfelt, uncensored letter from a dear friend, not a commercial effort. What struck me most is that the author is unapologetic. Too many memoirs are filled with regrets, but Rick McGranahan understood that this was merely a journey to be taken. It's his story and he's not ashamed of it. There's a lesson there for the rest of us: accept who you are, change what needs changing, but never forget that who you were shaped who you are today.
And the story continues. For as much as I was a part of Puppyboy's life, he's now a part of mine, and I occasionally catch myself seeing the world through his eyes. To have been so young, he imparted valuable wisdom, the greatest of which is that love is out there; it may take awhile to find it, but it's there. Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy is a raw, uninhibited peek into someone's life, a wild ride well worth taking, and your tour guide is one of the most unforgettable characters you'll ever meet. Some review sites have distinctions above five stars, to indicate that a book is a must read and a keeper. While I don't currently have that, I will say that this is one incredible book, and I am in awe of its power. I give it five stars because that's all that's allowed on this site. It deserves so much more, and I'll be revisiting Puppyboy often in the near future.
I'm pleased to say that through reading this book and then exchanging emails, and finally meeting in person, I now count this amazing author among my friends.