Standalone or series
First time reading this author?
Why I picked this
A cheery cover and I thought it would be quite a light read.
Review copy or purchase
Thank you to the author, publishers Doubleday and The Pigeonhole for access to read this for free. This is an honest and voluntary review.
What it’s about
Dan, George and Lizzie are all facing challenges. Dan loves his dog, George doesn’t want his and Lizzie uses access to a dog to get away from questions about why she left her husband. Their lives are up and down, but the dogs remain the constant at their sides.
Break out the hankies, Dog Days is an emotional rollercoaster. By turns, funny, frustrating and heartbreaking this story of a group of damaged individuals getting through their lives with a dog at their side is one I’m really sad to have finished. I will miss Dan, Lizzie and yes, even cantankerous old George.
Dan is a counsellor who has OCD. Counting helps him feel in control. His dog Fitz and his cousin Luke are his best friends, but the way new counselling client Atticus is making him feel is something he doesn’t even share with Luke.
Fact-loving Lizzie is readjusting to life in a woman’s shelter with son Lenny. She likes her life to be ordered, and doesn’t want to talk about what happened before she came to the shelter. She begrudges walking the shelter’s dog Maud at first.
George is angry. His wife Ellen died. She did everything for him, cooked, cleaned, and ran interference to protect the world from his bad manners and bad temper. Now she’s dead and she’s left behind a noisy puppy called Poppy and a series of letters.
Dog Days isn’t really about the dogs, although we do have flashes of what they might be thinking about the situation. The dogs are the ones who offer the no judgement love and support each of the main characters need though.
None of the characters are perfect. At times George’s behaviour is downright outrageous and I lost a lot of the early sympathy I had for his grief.
Dan is lovely, and his burgeoning relationship with Atticus is warm and lovely.
Lizzie is complicated. Her story arc involves a lot of spoilers, so I won’t say anything more, but she is probably the storyline with the most interesting questions and reflections for the reader about their attitude to her circumstances and personality.
Overall this is a fantastic story balancing an easy read with some real reflective moments. All told by well-drawn and engaging characters and their dogs.