Sit down, pull up a chair (or pick a spot under your favorite tree) and smile as Rick Bragg spins his mesmerizing tales of life down South with characteristically wry humor and wisdom ... The Speckled Beauty takes its place beside Willie Morris’ My Dog Skip, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ animal narratives and William Faulkner’s dog stories—as well as all those short tales of devoted dogs in Field & Stream—confirming once more Bragg’s enduring artfulness and cracking good ability to spin memorable, affectionate tales.
Bragg's writing can be wordy and overwrought, his anecdotes possibly exaggerated, but he's almost always entertaining, and this book is a fast read ... Bragg is at his best here when he tells the story straight — it's a good story, the slow metamorphosis of this dog from vicious wild creature to somewhat benign companion ... The book has some hilarious scenes, such as when Speck somehow scoops a bunch of kittens into a paper sack and trots with them around the yard ... Bragg's descriptions are vivid, his use of colorful place names is enchanting, and while the story is Speck's, whenever Bragg turns the camera on himself you find you like and empathize with him a little more each time.
Readers familiar with Bragg’s books and magazine work know his down-home humor and infectious turns of phrase ... Bragg’s compassion for the dog’s shortcomings give Speck the time and space to relearn to belong to someone. Does the world need yet another dog book? Yes, if it’s this one.3
[A] fresh spin on a classic theme: A wounded man rescues a wounded pet that in turn rescues him ... A celebrated Southern memoirist delivers a spirited book about a hell-raising dog and his effect on the author’s life.