The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Walking in Circles Before Lying Down, by Merrill Markoe

I love Merrill Markoe. I think she is one of the funniest, most compassionate writers alive. And Merrill Markoe loves dogs. Like we all do, her characters talk to their pets. In Walking in Circles Before Lying Down, they talk back. Literally. In English.

Well, it’s either that, or Dawn Tarnauer is hallucinating the voices, which are not revoltingly cute because Markoe is a better writer than that. Regardless of the source, Dawn hears all of the dogs around her, though the dialogue is mainly with Chuck, the pit-bull mix she rescued from the pound. Chuck is confident, assertive, and generally a good judge of the people in Dawn’s life, although he does tend to use a dog’s criteria instead of a human’s. Now, any pet owner will likely say that our animals understand better than we do when a person isn’t worth our time. But on a quite hilarious walk along the beach, Chuck recommends that she take up with a range of men, including married men, old men, and children. Dawn is horrified at some of these suggestions, but Chuck, being a dog, disdains her for being too picky. So the disconnect in values must be overcome.

Yet Chuck is the one being in Dawn’s life that she can count on. He’s certainly more reliable than her flaky sister, her self-absorbed mother, and her ne’er-do-well father. And don’t get me started on the on-and-off boyfriend, Paxton. Chuck should have just bitten him and gotten it over with, in my opinion. But who would get in trouble for that? The dog, of course.

You definitely want to read this book. Chuck is adorable, and Dawn is kind of cute, too.

As for animals … I can’t really tell what happens in this book without spoiling a lot of it. I will say that Chuck fills the vacancy left by a dog who dies of old age early in the book. There are some sad but brief images, a bad owner, and some alarming twists and turns. But it won’t make you cry and maybe you’ll come to love Merrill Markoe like I do. So I am recommending this book as SAFE (and even especially enjoyable!) for animal lovers.

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September 20, 2010 - Posted by | animals, beach book, Book Reviews, dogs, humor, pets | ,

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