DIVORCE, DOG STYLE by Maria Flook

DIVORCE, DOG STYLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A man visits an ex-lover dealing with divorce and grief the day her dog is being put to sleep.

Grafton is on his way to Boston to start a new job as a librarian at MIT. On his way, he’s avoiding his girlfriend back in New York, Daphne, with whom he’s had a fight, and stopping by to visit Caroline, an ex-girlfriend with whom he has remained close over the years. Caroline is in a rough way: She’s in the midst of a divorce from her husband, Alec, who's gone back to his first wife after the death of their son. Along with that, her dog, Butter, has to be put down, and today’s the day the vet is coming. Over the span of a day, dogs are lost and found, exes confront each other and absolve each other, and a few mysteries are cleared up, if not forgiven. Flook’s (First Person Female, 2018, etc.) characters are all deeply flawed, but this doesn't make them sympathetic even in the face of all the tragedy going on around them; they're extremely self-absorbed, interested only in dealing with their own problems and goals, caring for others only as far as the others' actions will affect them. Grafton, ostensibly the protagonist, is concerned mainly with sleeping with Caroline and making dumb jokes, along with offering his opinions on the attractiveness of every woman who appears. An extremely uncomfortable date rape joke is brought up repeatedly, and characters tend to think more with their genitals than their brains. Fictional characters don’t need to be likable, but the reader does need a reason to care about what’s happening to them, something that's missing here.

Unlikable characters and dog death populate this underwhelming tale.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-948072-01-4
Page count: 308pp
Publisher: Roundabout Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2018




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