Animal Love · Book of My Choosing - 2018 · Book Review · Nonfiction

Book Review: Craig & Fred by Craig Grossi

A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other

Pages: 272
Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
Publication Date:
October 31, 2017
Story Perspective: First-Person
Themes: War, PTSD, Animal love, Relationship, Recovery, Friendship, Closure, Determination, Hope, Optimism

SynopsisMeet Craig – a young, determined, strong young veteran who served in Afghanistan. While in service, he meets this unique, loner young dog. Instantly, the two are connected.

Craig’s mission is to bring Fred, the lovable Afghan dog, to the United States. Fred’s mission is to be a loyal and comforting friend for Craig.

With time spent in Afghanistan, traveling the United States afterwards, and some reflections of the past, Grossi shares a story that will touch the hearts of many.

my review

This book was given to me as a gift from one of my husband’s grandmothers. She and I always seem to end up talking about books, and Craig and Fred was one she had mentioned. It was super sweet that she purchased this one, and I dove right in! 

I am always appreciative and have such a high level of respect for those who serve their country, especially someone so young. I know I couldn’t do it, so it’s inspiring to read about those who have. Now, throw a cute and loyal dog into the mix, then you have a great combination in a book that will make you feel varying complicated emotions while reading.

Craig’s voice was a pleasure to read. It was calm, collective, and reflective. His love for Fred was clear through these pages. While describing certain aspects of his time in Afghanistan and even afterwards, there were moments of vulnerability and openness. The author briefly shares some traumatic experiences during his time in Afghanistan, but not too graphically. It was the perfect balance for me because I was able to be reflective and sad, but not too disturbed that I wouldn’t be able to continue.

One of my favorite of the book was, of course, reading about Fred. Right from the beginning of their friendship, Craig and Fred definitely had a connection. I loved reading how loyal Fred was and what a good pal he was. He reminded me of my own dog, at times, but he does hold one of the best qualities that all dogs have – true love.

The only disappointing part of this book was not being able to see how Fred rescued Craig. With the difficult act of bringing young Fred to the United States, we can see how Craig was able to rescue this lovable dog. Then, yes, there were the trips that Craig and Fred took and how having a dog made it easier on Craig to open discussion about the time he spent in Afghanistan. However, I wanted more of their relationship right after Craig returned home and a bit more on the post-traumatic stress aspect with Fred by his side. Perhaps this aspect of Craig’s life was too traumatic to speak about or felt it wasn’t necessary since the two have a clear connection.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Craig and Fred so much, and I’m so happy that I got this one as gift! Thank you, Kathy!! 😀

My Rating4 stars


I recommend this read to those who would like an insight into a young veteran’s mind as he describes his time in service and develops a sweet friendship with a lovable dog.

Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
26 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!

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