TOP DOG by Mary Cobb


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The dog show world has more than its share of involvements if one can credit this lurid story of Jessica Dabney, who dominates the dog world of Atlanta, Georgia. Full of ""charm"", hard as ""porcelain"", and eager for power- as described by the author, Jessica runs not only her kennel of prize poodles, but an alcoholic husband, a son, Scott, married to Meg and living almost next door, a daughter Carol, ""beige and cashmere cool"", who is having an affair with Mike, the Eurasian dog handler; and an illegitimate son, Beck, who is a homosexual. The plot follows these messy threads through an elaborate party at Jessica's, where the conversation is chiefly concerned with worms, stud fees, bitches (canine and otherwise) and punctuated by a fight, a fainting, an assignation, and various minor power plays. Jessica gets her comeuppance the next day at the big show, when the judge she has bribed awards the ""Best of Show"", mistakenly, to a bitch Beck had entered on his own. Scott and Meg decide to move away. And Carol sticks to Mike, whom she has married. This vindictive ending is wholly appropriate to a book in which there is no single appealing character, except, perhaps, Mike. Thoroughly unpleasant.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1959
Publisher: Doubleday