THE DOG WHO DANCED by Susan Wilson

THE DOG WHO DANCED

KIRKUS REVIEW

Love, loss and redemption are explored in Wilson’s (One Good Dog, 2010, etc.) latest mainstream fiction.

As a young girl, Justine Meade lost her mother. Her father quickly married Adele, a stepmother who disliked and mistreated Justine. At 17, Justine left home. She found work in Brooklyn, married the boss’ son, but then divorced and began an itinerant life, always ready to move on. Wilson writes Justine in first person, with back story reflecting her never-quite-satisfied adulthood, one fractured by her teenage son’s recent resolution to live with his father. With her own estranged father battling cancer, Justine has been summoned home. Justine lives in Seattle, tends bar and has one maxed-out credit card. So she pays a regular patron $300 to hitch a ride in his long-haul rig, taking along Mack, her Sheltie and one source of unconditional love. On the road, the trucker assumes Justine is willing to share a bed, but Justine refuses. Frustrated, he strands her at an Ohio truck stop. Only when he reaches Massachusetts does the trucker discover Mack in the cab’s sleeper. He dumps the dog. In Ohio, Justine reluctantly accepts help from Mitch, a one-legged biker who, belying his gruff exterior, is a symphony violinist. Mitch could only chase the big rig for a short distance, which left Justine in a frantic and uncoordinated pursuit while simultaneously attempting to reach her father in New Bedford. Mitch appears near novel’s end, but his likable character deserves more. Meantime, Mack is rescued by Ed and Alice, a couple mired in a miasma of despair over the suicide of their daughter. Instinctively, Mack begins to heal the rift between them. While not detracting from the story, there is predictable anthropomorphism, and Wilson readily relies on a Sheltie’s nature and behavior to drive the emotion-packed story to its somewhat too-easy climax.

As with Marley and Me and The Art of Racing in the Rain, it’s hard not to like a book where a dog is a major player.

 

Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-67499-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2012




NEW & NOTABLE FICTION: MARCH 2012:

Fiction ANGELMAKER by Nick Harkaway
by Nick Harkaway
Fiction ARCADIA by Lauren Groff
by Lauren Groff
Fiction BY BLOOD by Ellen Ullman
by Ellen Ullman
Fiction THE EXPATS by Chris Pavone
by Chris Pavone

MORE BY SUSAN WILSON

FictionA MAN OF HIS OWN by Susan Wilson
by Susan Wilson
FictionONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson
by Susan Wilson
FictionTHE FORTUNE TELLER’S DAUGHTER by Susan Wilson
by Susan Wilson

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionDOG YEARS by Mark Doty
by Mark Doty
IndieLUNA by Toni B. McNeill
by Toni B. McNeill
NonfictionCHOSEN BY A HORSE by Susan Richards
by Susan Richards