Thursday, August 27, 2009

walking in circles before lying down

Title: walking in circles before lying down

Author: Merrill Markoe

Publisher: Villard

Copyright Date: 2006

Print Date: August 2006

ISBN: 140006483X

Pages: 270

Book Description (from dust jacket):

Dawn Tarnauer's life isn't exactly a success story. Already twice divorced, the young Californian is too busy job-hopping to start a career, her current boyfriend insists on living "off the grid," her Life Coach sister perpetually interferes with incomprehensible affirmations, her eccentric mother is busy promoting the culmination of her life's work—the Every Holiday Tree—and her father is ending his brief third marriage while scheduling two dates for the same night.

Dawn's only source of security and comfort, it seems, is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. So, when her boyfriend announces that he's leaving her for another woman, a despairing Dawn turns to Chuck for solace.

"I should have said something sooner," she hears Chuck say, consoling her. "Couldn't you smell her on his pants?"

Dawn is stunned. It's one thing to talk to your pets, but what do you do when they start talking back? It's not just Chuck, either; she can hear all dogs—and man's best friend has a lot to say. The ever enthusiastic Chuck offers his tried-and-true advice on the merits of knocking over garbage and strewing it everywhere, auxiliary competitive peeing etiquette, and the curative powers of tossing a ball. Doubtful of her own sanity, Dawn nevertheless considers that, in the ways of life and love, it might be better to trust Chuck's doggie instincts instead of her own.

Filled with sharp wit, biting humor, and canine conversation that would make Doctor Dolittle's jaw drop, Merrill Markoe's engaging, cleverly written novel is about the confusing search for love and the divine acts of dog.


I'm not sure what made me pick this book up (while browsing at the library). Maybe it was the picture of the dog. And I haven't read a straight up "novel" in a while, so that may have had something to do with it. In any case, I started reading the dust jacket (above) and my mouth litterally dropped when I got to the dog talking part. It took me completely by surprise, and after that I had to read it.

As for the book itself. I could have done without the periodic surges of hard language, but the story was interesting. Getting the dog perspective allows Dawn to grow and learn about herself. For the reader, the talking dogs added great humor—complete with [potential] answers to many dog related questions... What do dogs circle before lying down? Why do dogs enjoy strewing garbage around? Why do dogs feel this great need to mark? Why do dogs eat their own vomit? etc.

This was a nice break from my usual reading while still giving me the very-different-from-my-own-reality world I look for in most of my reading.


  1. I think I would have done the same. I really love that cover. (Love your review too!)

  2. We read this for book club a few months back and I really did not enjoy this book. A few in the book club did, but I agree with you on the language and I guess I just didnt really find a point to the book.

    I do like reading different reviews on books I have read as I value other opinions.

  3. J. Kaye - Isn't the cover lovely? So simple and yet...

    bookjourney - I tend not to rank books, but if I did I'd have to say this one was a not a favorite or re-read but not the worst book I ever read (after all, I finished it).


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