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A Dog's Life

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,134 Ratings  ·  209 Reviews
The bestsellling author of A Year in Provence and Hotel Pastis now surveys his territory from a differnt vantage point: the all-fours perspective of his dog, Boy--"a dog whose personality is made up of equal parts Boswell and Dr. Johnson, Mencken and A. A. Milne" (Chicago Sun-Times). Enhanced by 59 splendidly whimsical drawings by Edward Koren.

From the Trade Paperback edit
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 14th 1995 by Knopf (first published January 1st 1995)
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Sep 05, 2010 Lize rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogs, 2005
This book was a delight. It's a memoir by author Peter Mayle's dog, Garcon, written in the style of Proust:

“Over the years, I have developed a soft spot for Proust. He tends to go on a bit for my taste, but we do have several characteristics in common. Both French, of course. Both with a reflective nature. Both keen admirers of the biscuit—madeleines for him, and the calcium enriched, bone-shaped, extra crunchy model for me. And so, I thought to myself, if he can share his opinions about life, l
V.R. Barkowski
Aug 13, 2010 V.R. Barkowski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a busy week, and I needed a pick-me-up, so I decided to reread a book that always makes me smile: A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle. It worked. I’m still laughing. And for that reason alone, it deserves praise, If you love dogs and/or France, this is a must read. My favorite chapter? “Mano a Mano with the Cat in the Garage.” As a dog AND cat owner, the title alone makes me giggle.

What’s it about?
Peter Mayle is best known for his books detailing life in Provence. Consider A Dog’s Life a varia
May 08, 2012 Phoebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh I don't know how to shelve this book...Thinking back on how I started reading Peter Mayle, it was all because of mom. When I ran out of things to read I would go through the book that my mom had gotten from the library or her personal collection, as any book-hungry child would do. I even went through some of those how-to-raise-your-child nurture books. I read voraciously and always wanted more. Anyway, back to Peter Mayle. It was different from the books I was reading, and because of that I w ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Mom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cute and amusing book! This is a quick read and great pick-me-up when you are feeling low or have just finished a depressing or text heavy book. I would recommend this book to anyone, just don't take it seriously or analyze it, it was meant for fun.
Mayleen Cadiz
Jun 27, 2010 Mayleen Cadiz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have a dog or dogs, this book is a must read. Though the author used his own words in expressing his dog's opinions, his take on a canine's view of the human life is simply hilarious.

The dog named Boy is slightly mean, funny and above all smart. His comments on other dogs, cats, his human family, and other human beings can offend the sensitive type but honestly, most of them are true.

If all dogs can talk or write, they would definitely agree with what Boy wrote in his "memoir".
Roxi Kirstein
Dec 10, 2010 Roxi Kirstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the pleasure of my gndmother reading this book to me when i was just eight years old whilst on a visit to see her in Cape Town. The tone and expression which she used only made it all the more entertaining and sarcastic. I will NEVER forget this book, i swear it.
Ilana Waters
May 10, 2012 Ilana Waters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who knew that Peter Mayle could write equally well from the point of view of man AND dog? Well, those who are fans (ahem, moi ;-) already had an inkling. But it's still fun to see the master in action for yourself, so pick up a copy and get ready to enjoy!
I have been a fan of Peter Mayle for a while. A Dog’s Life is different from his usual writing style but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This story is told from the dog’s point of view. It seems like a very accurate accounting of what I think dog’s reactions may be. But then I tend to give my dogs more credit regarding their thought processes and adding human emotion.

“Boy” was a pup with an unhappy childhood. He was chained outside with barely any shelter and had a cruel owner. When he was taken huntin
Boy is the key character in this humorous little book written by Peter Mayle. This dog is based on a dog Mayle once adopted whose "uncertain origins and dubious hunting skills" made him a dog only the author and his wife could love. Boy tells his own story from amorous approaches to a female far too little to really love to cats which he abhors and chases out of his territory to chickens which are a form of "sport and nourishment."

It's a light read that can be best enjoyed by dog lovers/owners.
Aug 21, 2015 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animal-stories, logos
This is the book Marley could have written if he were as educated as "Boy." Boy (Mayle's real life dog) tells it all from his abusive puppyhood to his rescue by "madame," his adapting to the house, learning the rules, and his observations on those weird humans. (The chapters on "The Joy of Balls" and "By Their Smell Shall You Know Them" are particularly funny.) With illustrations by Edward Koren, this book is just delightful.
Erma Odrach
Oct 20, 2011 Erma Odrach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really entertaining and funny memoir written from the point of view of a canine of "mysterious lineage" named Boy. It recounts Boy's everyday life from shopping at a butcher shop, to getting a bath, to even quoting Voltaire.

Here's a small passage, "A brace of a pig's trotters had caught my eye, and I was deliberating between them and a handsome cut of veal when ...Enter the butcher, eyes popping with fury..."

(This actually reminds me of when my dog somehow stole a line of sausages and
May 27, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who wouldn't want to read about a dog living a dog's life in Provence, France? If you are familiar with "A Year in Provence" -I listened to it through books on tape-you will, (no doubt) have a fond remberance of the writer's ability to transport you into the humorously charming world of France and all its foibles.
This book is written through the dog's voice and it works out perfect.
Feb 19, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a funny little book on how dogs see humans of course, but also is the story of a French dog, so also pokes fun at the Franco stereotypes in a gentle way. Delightful cartoons illustrate throughout. A quick and sweet little book for observers of dogs.
Jul 06, 2012 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most fabulous and entertaining books I'v ever read in my life. Not your typical Peter Mayle book really. It is written entirely from the dog's point-of-view. So good...a fun, fabulous, easy read. :)
May 26, 2014 Roberta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yes a book from a dog's point of view on human behavior. I know its supposed to be whimsical and witty but it fell flat for me. There is no "story" and wasn't all that enlightening.
I guess I'm beginning to think all these books about dogs and what they're thinking and how they save the day in their pureheartedness is just getting a little... well... old. We're stating the obvious over and over now, you know? In any case, this was well written, with cute little drawings about the protagonist dog in question. He needs to be neutered, but his sexual interest in the girl next door is mildly amusing. You know, yeah, it was good enough for me to like it, but it's not a keeper.
Jan 25, 2013 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and well-written
author's note: following the current autobio custom adopted by politicians in their memoirs, I have adjusted the truth wherever it might reflect unfavorably on myself. is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short
27..I took that as a hint that my services were no longer required at Chateau Despair.
53..The chicken, you see, is that happy combination of sport and nourishment
57..a life of privilege--luxe et volupte'--stretched befor
Kelly Dang
IN MY OPINION, this book could have been better written. Now I'm not saying that this book was terrible, it's just that every time there was an opening for an emotional scene, the word choice of the author has killed the mood. The concept of this book has so much potential. I don't think I've ever read anything similar. Basically, it's about the many lives of one dog and that dog's point of view. I find this funny because many situations, I knew what was happening as a human. But seeing how a do ...more
Aug 09, 2014 Moshe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very clever and sweet easy read. Very funny observations if people and life in
Provence - all in the voice of Boy the dog. From not very good and humble beginnings as an unwanted pup from a large litter to wandering the streets to becoming part of the Mayle household it's a great story. Amorous adventures, dinner party eavesdropping and eating, living with the two other older dogs...I really liked Boy's wit and style. I'll look for more by this author!
Jo Ann
Jan 21, 2016 Jo Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must say that my review is biased because not only do I own a dog, whose company I enjoy, but I also like France. Additionally, over the years I have enjoyed Mayle's lighter works starting with A Year in Provence and continuing through his various " caper" novels. I found A Dog's Life to be the perfect January read for me, light, insightful, humorous, and illustrated by Edward Koren. I suspect that my dog thinks very much along the lines of "Boy."
Lisbeth Solberg
Jun 23, 2014 Lisbeth Solberg rated it liked it
Shelves: fauna, picture-book
"Brooding over the mysteries of existence is bad for your health. Look what happens to philosophers. Most of them end up barking mad, taking to the bottle or becoming professors of existentialism at obscure universities."--Advice from Boy, the canine protagonist/memoirist of A Dog's Life

Not exactly a romp, but certainly a spirited ramble through the life of a dog and its loving owners. Full of sly witticisms about human and canine behavior.
Candace Burton
If you have a dog, or have lived with one for any period of time, you will find this book laugh out loud funny--particularly if, as is often the case around here, you tend to anthropomorphize your canine friend because dangit, their facial expressions are just so erudite. It's short, and very much in keeping with Mayle's memoir writings elsewhere. I am personally a much greater fan of his autobio's than his fiction, insofar as I think he's better at recording than creating. Left to his own devic ...more
Mrs. Koch's Class
This is a fascinating memoir that takes place in France. It tells the dog’s perspective on everything he has been through from animal abuse to being adopted into a lovely home. It does use some french words that I couldn’t understand. This book tells what the dog, Boy, is thinking about when he runs into a cat and when he sees a cute, little pooch next door. I recommend that you read this book. ~Erika~
Barbara Vinocur
Aug 26, 2015 Barbara Vinocur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love dogs! I love humor! I love good writing! So this book was delightful to me. About a 'mut' affectionately named Boy who was rescued by a kind couple living in Southern France. The story is told by Boy. His observations of humans, nature, and other creatures are very funny....but also quite accurate! I laughed out loud when reading this charming little book. I sure recommend it!
Jul 22, 2015 Merrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago, probably a year or so after our dog Walker became part of our lives in 2002. I thoroughly enjoyed it and remember laughing out loud a number of times. The author obviously knows and loves dogs. He captures the essence of how the world might look from a dog's perspective. A fun, fun read!
Jun 29, 2015 Cinthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every dog-lover needs to read this book. It’s funny and it finds its way into your heart. Boy’s hilarious reflections on humans and cats will definitely bring a smile or two to your face. It’s a light read, full of witty remarks and an amazing job done by Peter Mayle to get into the canines’ point of view.
Jun 15, 2014 Carla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fabulous book by Peter Mayle, told from the perspective of Boy, the dog. This book is guaranteed to make you laugh as Boy describes everything from the strange social habits of humans, to hunting chickens and dealing with cats. Best chapter "Mano a Mano with the cat in the garage".
Jul 17, 2008 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Courtney for giving me this book. I just got into it today and am half-way through. For anyone who has ever owned or loved a dog, this is a great read! It's from a dog's perspective with segments such as the following:

From the chapter, "The Art of Communication" - too cute and true...

"Anyway, I may not talk, but I like to think that I am one of the great communicators. I have a manly and distinctive bark, an eloquent sniff, a squeal of horror that serves to discourage any attempts at g
TheIron Paw
Another lighthearted view of Provence, but this time as viewed by Peter Mayle's somewhat philosophical dog "Garcon". It presents an "under the table" perspective of life in Provence (after tidying up the hors d'oeurves left on the coffee table of course). A worthwhile read.
Aug 08, 2012 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With such high praise by reviewers as well as friends I came into this book with high expectations. I should have known better than to trust these expectations as I have been disappointed before when expecting much more than is delivered. Unfortunately when expectations are so high there is no where to go but down. I certainly found the book witty and will always be a fan of dry humor but did not find it "wickedly funny" or "laugh out loud" funny or to be the pick me up as promised. Instead, I s ...more
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Peter Mayle (born June 14, 1939 in Brighton) is a British author famous for his series of books detailing life in Provence, France. He spent fifteen years in advertising before leaving the business in 1975 to write educational books, including a series on sex education for children and young people. In 1989, A Year in Provence was published and became an international bestseller. His books have be ...more
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