Book Review: As Bright as the Sun


As Bright as the SunJust before Christmas, a friend recommended a book to me. Being a sucker for a good book, I immediately checked it out on Amazon. It didn’t take much for me to know that I needed to add it to my Christmas list. I am so glad I did.

The book is called “As Bright as the Sun” by Cynthia Schlichting, and is about a strong but vulnerable victim of the dog fighting world, Bella.

I can hardly explain some of the emotions I felt as Cynthia wove the tale of Bella’s life, as told from her perspective. Some of the details are true and some of them are based on Cynthia’s imaginings of what happened to Bella prior to coming to live with them. It works. I found myself smiling at times and crying at others as I followed Bella on her treacherous journey. If Cynthia wanted to place the reader in Bella’s shoes, then she did a good job.

The book starts out with Bella as a puppy and follows her as she is kidnapped from her loving family and forced into the dark, cruel and sick world of dog fighting. For years, Bella is used and abused by her captors. She is bred over and over again for her puppies – all forced into the dog fighting ring, and she is also forced to fight. It was during her last fight (more of an assassination than a fight) that Bella faces her worst moment. She is tossed into a ring with a fighting dog with her legs tied together, unable to defend herself. Her captors intended for her to die there. Instead, she survived. So they tossed her into a roadside ditch – pregnant, bleeding, skin and ears ripped up, she lay there in that ditch all but giving up on life until a good samaritan comes along and saves her. A guardian angel was looking over Bella that day and the days to come.

By all odds, Bella ends up at the now infamous Chesterfield County Animal Shelter, where employees shot and killed 22 of their dogs and buried them in a landfill. Thank goodness she was pulled by a rescue before she could suffer that fate. The rescue cares for Bella’s wounded body and soul and shares her story on Facebook, where it is passed on by many.

It is there that Cynthia and her husband, Brian, read Bella’s story and decide they are the ones to give her a new home. What follows is their, and Bella’s, journey to bring her home (to Minnesota) and to give her a chance at a new life. She meets her new doggie siblings, Foster and Jane, and learns what being a dog really is when you live in a home where people love you.

It’s a powerful story and one worth reading

If I had but one wish it would have been that Cynthia had shared more about Bella’s life after she was rescued. For those of us with dogs who have suffered a horrible beginning in life, we want to know how she, and her husband, Brian, helped Bella to assimilate into her new world. But, I think I know why Cynthia chose to focus more of her time and attention on Bella’s story. It’s because Bella’s story is not just a story about Bella, it’s a story about every fighting dog still living in that world. It’s the story of those who try to help these dogs and what really happens in that cruel sadistic world that some consider a sport. If you didn’t know much about dog fighting before, you will after reading Bella’s story. You can even follow the work Cynthia continues to do to bring attention to this issue on her Facebook page.

Reading Bella’s story opened my eyes even more to the horrible world Bella lived in for so many years. She is a symbol for those who have come before her, and all those who will, no doubt, come after her. If you get a chance, I would encourage you to read her story. It’s one worth reading.

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  1. March 21, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    OMD what an awful fate these dogs have. What a powerful story. You are right the fates were kind to Bella. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

    • Mel
      March 21, 2013 at 7:04 AM

      Thanks Molly!

  2. March 21, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    It sounds like quite a read!

  3. Roxy the Traveling Dog
    March 21, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    Wow, that’s all I can say. What a horrid story. That must have been a tough read. I’m so glad she is in loving arms now.

  4. March 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Thanks for the recommendation – always looking for something good to read. Just about finished with Pukka’s Promise.

  5. March 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    This story is so important and i’m glad that Bella’s story has come out and that it’s had a happy ending but truth is I’m not sure I could read this book…I’ve put it on my wishlist, but will have to be in a good space before I start it

    • Mel
      March 21, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      I can understand Gizmo. I think it was on par with the movie Old Yeller. I cry every time I see it, but I can’t help watching it. The book is worth reading.

  6. March 21, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Sounds like an amazing book, thanks for the recommendation.

  7. March 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Wow, that sounds like a hard read. I’m such a tender heart… I don’t know if I could get through that. I’m glad Bella has her happy ending.

  8. Global Dachshund Crossposting
    March 21, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    This brought tears to my eyes just reading the review,

    • Mel
      March 21, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Oh no! I am sorry! It really is a wonderful book. I hope you will read it.

  9. March 23, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    Great review and a very important story. I read your comment to Gizmo, so feel a bit better about saying that I probably will never read this book. Can’t watch Old Yeller either.

  10. glsentrp
    March 26, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    I totally agree with me! The book is a have to read. Me or anyone that wants to follow Bella story after rescue can find her on “bright as the sun” @ facebook It is amazing and wonderful to be able to continue to follow Bella’s journey. She has an amazing family.

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