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Catalog » Browse by Title: F » Five-Dog Epiphany: How a Quintet of Badass Bichons Retrieved Our Joy

Five-Dog Epiphany: How a Quintet of Badass Bichons Retrieved Our Joy


A new installment in best-selling author Ann Hood’s Gracie Belle imprint, actress Marianne Leone’s (The Sopranos, etc.) memoir explores how a bereaved couple and a pack of rescue dogs rediscovered joy.

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before September 3, 2024.

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Forthcoming: 9/3/24

$25.95 $19.46

What people are saying…

Five-Dog Epiphany is a marvel—a poignant and revelatory memoir about the profound relationship between humans and their canine companions. Marianne Leone writes about grief and dogs and love and healing in a voice that’s raw and lyrical, and utterly her own.”
—Tom Perrotta, author of Tracy Flick Can’t Win

“While reading this heartrending, often funny, and ultimately life-affirming memoir, I found myself thinking of the nonfiction masters Joan Didion and Patti Smith, for these are Marianne Leone’s peers. Written in lyrical, evocative prose that is as erudite as it is streetwise, this unforgettable memoir takes us unflinchingly into fathomless loss where the only lifeline may just be compassion for the suffering of other living creatures with whom we share this imperiled planet, dogs especially; Five-Dog Epiphany nourishes the soul as only genuine art can, by illuminating the simple yet elusive truth that love of all kinds holds the power to sustain and maybe even save us.”
—Andre Dubus III, author of Such Kindness

“Marianne Leone has written a gorgeous and often hilarious memoir that can break your heart and lift you up in one swift move. Her rich, delicious prose will move even those of us who’ve spent most of our lives basking in the warmth of dog love.”
—Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof

“I tore through this book, couldn’t put it down. It was deeply, profoundly moving. And my rescue pitbull kept looking at me, trying to identify the sound coming out of me, then jumping up to lick off my tears. Very fitting. I am so grateful to Marianne Leone for sharing her story with the world.”
—Edie Falco, actress

“Marianne Leone’s exploration of grief after the loss of her son offers powerful truths that have no offensive sugarcoating and are hard won by her and her husband, Chris Cooper. Dogs populate this story, and I loved getting to know them all, but the book is really about Leone and about her heart and her life and her memory and her grief and her love. I would read her writing about anything, due to her brilliance and sense of humor on any topic.”
—Rob Delaney, author of A Heart That Works


Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before September 3, 2024.

In Five-Dog Epiphany, Marianne Leone writes about the joy that can be summoned after a great loss, “when you look into the eyes of another damaged creature and know that your happiness is a mirror and an echo and a prayer, and that the little soul reflecting all that energy is happy too, at last.” This memoir is a moving and sometimes surprisingly funny exploration of grief and the mutual healing that can occur between rescue dogs and people who have experienced a soul-crushing loss. Leone and her husband, actor Chris Cooper, lost their only child suddenly in 2005. Jesse was seventeen, a straight-A student, and a brilliant poet, who was also quadriplegic and nonverbal except with the assistance of a computer.

When six-year-old Jesse miraculously blurted “dog” to Santa, Goody appeared on his bed on Christmas morning. Goody was followed by Lucky, Frenchy, Titi, and Sugar, all rescues adopted after Jesse’s passing. After Jesse’s death, Leone grew a tumor the size of her premature son at birth, her husband disappeared into dark acting roles (Breach, Married Life), and Leone fainted during the filming of a scene in The Sopranos where she is standing in front of her television son’s coffin.

This is the story of a bereaved couple and a pack of rescue dogs finding their way to a new life, everyone licking their wounds, both corporal and spiritual, and the rediscovery of joy.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Published: 9/3/24
  • IBSN: 9781636141923
  • e-IBSN: 9781636141930


Marianne Leone is an actress, screenwriter, and essayist. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Lit Hub, Ploughshares, Post Road, Bark Magazine, Coastal Living, Solstice, and elsewhere. She is the author of two memoirs, Jesse and Ma Speaks Up. She had a recurring role on HBO’s The Sopranos as Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher’s mother. She has also appeared in films by David O. Russell, Larry David, John Sayles, Nancy Savoca, and Martin Scorsese. Her latest book is Five-Dog Epiphany.

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