• The Speckled Beauty

  • A Dog and His People
  • By: Rick Bragg
  • Narrated by: Rick Bragg
  • Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (353 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

From the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All Over but the Shoutin', the warmhearted and hilarious story of how his life was transformed by his love for a poorly behaved, half-blind stray dog.

Speck is not a good boy. He is a terrible boy, a defiant, self-destructive, often malodorous boy, a grave robber and screen door moocher who spends his days playing chicken with the Fed Ex man, picking fights with thousand-pound livestock, and rolling in donkey manure, and his nights howling at the moon. He has been that way since the moment he appeared on the ridgeline behind Rick Bragg's house, a starved and half-dead creature, 76 pounds of wet hair and poor decisions.

Speck arrived in Rick's life at a moment of looming uncertainty. A cancer diagnosis, chemo, kidney failure, and recurring pneumonia had left Rick lethargic and melancholy. Speck helped, and he is helping, still, when he is not peeing on the rose of Sharon. Written with Bragg's inimitable blend of tenderness and sorrow, humor and grit, The Speckled Beauty captures the extraordinary, sustaining devotion between two damaged creatures who need each other to heal.

©2021 Rick Bragg (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

ONE OF GARDEN & GUN'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“This is a witty, moving love letter to one extraordinary dog—and an ode to the transformative powers of his kind.” People Magazine [Book of the Week]

 “This moving book is a literary ode to canine love.” The Washington Post

“Bragg has done it again, focusing his lyrical prose on one aspect of his Southern roots while managing to embrace much larger terrain in the process . . . [The Speckled Beauty] delights the senses and is as honest as the day is long.” —David Holahan, USA Today 

What listeners say about The Speckled Beauty

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Pure Pleasure

Even if you’ve never been to the true South - you can envision it when you read this book. I come from a long line of people just like this family. This book speaks to my heart I will read it again and again.

6 people found this helpful

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Honest true life story

I am a fan of Rick Bragg and have read several of his books. I listened to this one and found it as good as the others. He wrote about a dog but also the relationships between a dog and the people in his life, a dog and the animals in his life, and we find that Bragg has a soft spot for dogs. He rescues this dog that is in bad shape. In fact, Bragg is not sure the dog will make it, but with care and attention from him and his mother, Speck becomes part of the family even though he is a "terrible dog" who gets into fights, tries to herd a mule and causes much trouble. Once again we see Rick Bragg's people and learn of the troubles his loved ones face. We see how his brother finally warms to this dog he thought was a terrible dog and Bragg's mother talks to the dog like he was a child.
I fell in love with Speck and felt the love that we dog lovers have for our four-footed friends. This is a gritty book in ways, but is also a lovely and touching book. I will likely listen to it again soon.

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“IT WAS SO GOOD I MILKED IT OUT!”

I usually don’t use my credit to buy shorter books in listening length, but the sample had me laughing right off the bat. If you have ever had a dog that wouldn’t mind, then this is the book to listen to. I throughly enjoyed it and want to thank Rick Bragg for brightening up my day while I worked.

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For The Love Of A Dog

I truly enjoyed this book even though it brought back bittersweet memories of my family's own bad dog - an Aussie found under similar circumstances. We named him Houdini and, like Bragg's dog, have so many stories to tell. I loved listening to the author's telling in his own voice, rich with the deep vowels of the south. And of course, the getting to know his people along with the "bad" dog.

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Fabulous!

Rick Bragg never disappoints - his stories of “his people” always take me right to his home and family. Both my son and I read and reread Mr Bragg.

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Unbelievable

I’m a Rick Bragg fan but this may be my favorite. It’s a great tale of the love of a man and a dog. Rick narrated the book which makes it more captivating.
If you love dogs and the tales of family, relationships and dogs this will capture your heart.
Loved it

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Touching, memorable memoir

Seldom does a book evoke such powerful emotions as this one. The reading by the author brought a level of reality to the story. The writing was so simple and yet so powerful. I laughed, cried, wondered, visualized, heard…thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

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For pet lovers and rural small town Southerners

Reminded me of the rural small town I grew up in where there was always a stray dog always roaming looking for their next meal or family
This book was both laugh out loud funny and sad. I reccomend. it was delightful.

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For your ultimate listening pleasure

Rick Bragg is a talented story teller, and as much as I love his books, there’s something extra special about hearing a story straight from his mouth. About his dog. But about so much more. Pure pleasure.

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Love letter to my homeland and my dogs.

I’d listen to Ricky read the phone book but when he reads his own beautiful words it’s magic. Treat yourself. Listen to this NOW!