Local Review


December 29, 2006

Wally’s World – a story about a family together

Kris Svela

Award-winning author Marsha Boulton can’t be criticized for pawing around the computer at her Minto farmhouse. Ms. Boulton’s latest book – Wally’s World – is a warm yarn about her 10-year-old Bull Terrier and the trials and tribulations of dog ownership. It’s something all too familiar to those who have ever owned a dog, but the story will be equally enjoyable to those who have never experienced dog ownership.

 For those who know Ms. Boulton, a Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor award-winning author and humorist, she brings the same whimsical flavor she’s known for in her Letters from the Country books to this latest book.

 For Ms. Boulton and her author-partner Stephen Williams, Wally is a familiar fixture in the couple’s truck, as the Bull Terrier seems to be navigating the vehicle to stops at Mt. Forest and area stores. Wally is a definite fixture in the couple’s lives, which is apparent in Wally’s World where he is elevated to the level of family member akin to that of the child they never had. It’s the theme that should entice non-dog owners to pick up a copy of the book.

 He is also an innocent bystander to the couple’s, and particularly Mr. William’ trials with the province’s justice system that saw him the target of trumped up criminal charges, arrests and court trials for two books on serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka he penned. Mr. Williams was eventually cleared of all charges after several years of investigations by police that went as far to see their farmhouse raided and materials confiscated. The materials taken included ongoing work by Ms. Boulton not connected to Mr. Williams’ case.

 The frustrations faced by the couple aren’t minimized by Ms. Boulton who admonishes the justice system for what it and its handlers put them through.

 “What they have done to you is outrageous,” Mr. Williams’ lawyer Eddie Greenspan is noted as saying in the book, “But when they touched Marsha’s stuff they crossed the line. You’ll see”

 The sentiment is echoed by the couple and their supporters who have stuck with them through thick and thin.

 Wally has also stuck with them as they have with him. From the time when he first arrived in their lives as a six-week-old puppy that could fit into a baseball cap to his adult life as a dog whose “face looks like a bicycle seat with eyes,” the trio has weathered thick and think. In the Wally dog world, thick and thin means encounters with skunks, porcupines, and other veterinarian-treated illnesses. It also meant times spent off the farm in cities, hotels and even hidden-away space in Mr. Greenspan’s Toronto offices.

 Wally’s World is the story of a relationship held together. It’s about that weathers the worst and the best.

 Ms. Boulton is a keen observer of life and that life is shared with Wally, the pugnacious Bull Terrier with a love of soccer and lacrosse balls and good food.

 “I do not know where I would be if Wally had not been in my life” she writes, “Stephen has always had the courage of his convictions to keep him going but we both missed having a family. With Wally we became one.”

 “Whatever happens – and I know it will – I am forever grateful to have shared Wally’s world”

 As a reader, so am I.