ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson


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Wilson (Summer Harbor, 2003, etc.) goes straight for the emotional jugular with a tale of two battle-scarred survivors, one human, one canine, learning mutual need and trust.

Man and dog rehabilitate themselves and each other in his shrewdly engineered tale of twin catastrophes and redemption. Adam March’s fall from grace is self-made, the inevitable collapse of a Don Draper–esque life built on the rocky foundations of concealed origins. Destabilized by the thought that his estranged sister, last seen 40 years ago, has re-entered his high-powered, high-maintenance existence, Adam loses self-control and commits “a self-immolating act of breathtaking nihilism”—he slaps his personal assistant. Instantly he jeopardizes everything: marriage, job, wealth and social standing. Recast as a nobody, sentenced to community service in a homeless shelter while attending anger-management therapy, Adam must learn some humility. Chance is a pit bull mix born into brutality and bred to fight. Man and dog don’t exactly bond when Adam accidentally reprieves Chance from the pound (he was looking for the missing pet of a distraught homeless-shelter denizen), but over time their relationship warms up, encouraged by an attractive local pet-shop owner. A third-person account of Adam’s story alternates with Chance’s dog’s-eye perspective as each character touches bottom and is redeemed by his counterpart in the other species. The story closes in a rush of reconciliation, a sob or two, and wiser, happier humans and canines all round.

An irresistible, if one-dimensional, cocktail of salvation and sentiment.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-57125-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2010


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