At first I was charmed by this book, the author (David Wroblewski) has an easy to read style, and I was quick to care about its main characters. Wroblewski also had the unique idea to write part of the book from the viewpoint and in the voice of a dog - which I thought was handled successfully and believably.
Set in Wisconsin, you follow Gar, Trudy, and eventually their son Edgar, through the triumphs and failures of their dog breeding business. Sometimes, as I mentioned earlier, experiencing the story through the eyes of one of these dogs, Almondine (confession - she was my favorite character).
There's tragedy interwoven throughout the book, but Wroblewski starts leaning on that option a little too heavily right about the middle of the book. I'll admit right now, I am not the kind of person who enjoys reading really dark, tragic books that 'examine and highlight the plight of the human condition' - and I started asking myself - 'do I really want to finish reading this?' But I hiked up my big girl shorts and pushed forward in the spirit of the book club. I'm proud to say I finished it.
And promptly threw it across the room.
Ok, maybe not literally (that would be childish). But I wanted to. Oh yeah, it's THAT kind of ending. Why? Wroblewski? WHY?!! What was the POINT?! I hear he took 10 years to write the book, and it's my personal opinion that he created this world he didn't know how to end - so he sent it up in completely unsatisfying smoke.
So there's my warning - if you're into 'that' kind of book, by all means dig in. But, if like me, you like to have some feeling of happiness, or at least satisfaction, at the end of a good read - avoid at all costs.
It did however, as I think my fellow Book Babes will agree, lend itself to a very lively book group discussion!