I love animals (I have a pure white shorthair cat named Missy, and a shih tzu- maltese mix named Macky), but in books, they’re usually one of three things: a) sickeningly cutesy, b) wise and all-knowing, or c) sarcastic and wisecracking.
The persona in Peter Mayle’s A Dog’s Life (book #72 for 2009) belongs to that third category, unfortunately.
Now I’m a big fan of Peter Mayle, but this is probably my least favorite book of his, not that it isn’t well written (he’s one of the best contemporary writers I’ve read), but because I just couldn’t get myself to buy the fact that it was a dog talking to me.
A Dog’s Life is about Boy, the Mayles’ dog, and how he goes from unwanted puppy to abused servant to thieving stray, and finally as a member of the Mayles’ Provencal household. In all fairness, the idea of a dog narrator is quite original, and Boy is very eloquent (with an astoundingly sophisticated vocabulary!), but I got the feeling that he talked too much.
Boy was going on and on and on about well, dog stuff — going after the mailman, getting a girlfriend, jumping on the bed, knocking down a glass of wine, chasing cats, chewing shoes, and all other things dogs do — and some of it is amusing, but it gets tiring after awhile. I mean, just how long can a person stand reading about the excruciating details of a dog’s life?
I love dogs, but this book still fails to sustain the interest for me.
My copy: trade paperback, local mooch
My rating: 2/5 stars
By the way, this was the only book I finished during the trip I took up to the mountains (Sagada, Mountain Province and Bontoc, Mountain Province) with some book club friends.
I brought along four other books but between the long hours of travel (mostly on zigzagging roads), the seven-hour spelunking and the various other treks we made, I didn’t even make a dent in them. But it was a great trip, and my reading ratio can afford to slack off a bit. Here are some photos, just so you know what I’ve been up to:
More photos here:
I’m off on an islandhopping trip next week, hopefully I can get some reading done then.