The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of You Must Be This Happy to Enter, by Elizabeth Crane

This book is awesome! And great!

Actually, it’s “very good,” I’m just playing with the title of the first story in the book. Elizabeth’s Cranes surreal short stories deal with happiness, pain, and sincerity. Most of the characters are striving, constantly striving, to achieve some sort of emotional satisfaction. In fact, one of the most touching stories is about Betty, a zombie who tries to improve herself on a reality TV show in order to please her beloved husband, Ed. (Betty and Ed also have a dog, Boone, whom Betty tries not to eat.)

Crane asks and sort of answers a number of intriguing hypothetical questions, like: what would you do if you were perfectly happy and capable of limited time travel, while you also passionately loved an imprisoned man who was perfectly happy and delighted to stay in jail? What if your entire town became invisible except for people’s bodies? What if your baby turned into a fully-grown movie star overnight? How would you adapt and strive for happiness under those circumstances?

Crane also watches a fair amount of reality TV, or so I assume. In fact, I strongly suspect that she and I have similar tastes.

I found Crane’s book to be delightful, though, as with most short story collections, I needed to take a few breaks instead of reading it in a couple of sessions. And I’m blaming a few nights of weird dreams on Crane, definitely. But I do recommend it. And regardless of what might happen to the possibly imperiled Boone and what does happen in another story to a pit bull named Damien, I am declaring this book SAFE for animal lovers.

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November 30, 2008 - Posted by | Book Reviews, humor, literature, pets | , , , , ,

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