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Must Love Dogs (Must Love Dogs #1)

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  8,096 Ratings  ·  515 Reviews
The Must Love Dogs series:
Must Love Dogs (#1)
Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life (#2)
Must Love Dogs: Fetch You Later (#3)
Must Love Dogs: Bark & Roll Forever (#4)
Must Love Dogs: Who Let the Cats In? (#5)

"Funny and pitch perfect." -Chicago Tribune
"Wildly witty" -USA Today
"Cook dishes up plenty of charm." -San Francisco Chronicle
"A hoot" -The Boston Globe

First the much-love
Paperback, 292 pages
Published July 5th 2005 by NAL Trade (first published June 1st 2002)
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The Princess Bride by William GoldmanThe Notebook by Nicholas SparksThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienStardust by Neil Gaiman
The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
350th out of 884 books — 9,399 voters
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Greenest Books Ever
287th out of 1,525 books — 462 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 31, 2014 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up as a free download and whilst I have heard of the film, I have never seen it or know anything about it, so the story was completely fresh to me. I enjoyed it immensely, a light hearted fun story of a forty year old divorcee, Sarah, attempting to enter the dating world by placing a lonely hearts ad. There are some very funny moments in the book which has a host of larger than life characters, including some very cute kids who, to be honest, did seem a little too precocious f ...more
Nicole Rhaven
Feb 05, 2014 Nicole Rhaven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, romance
I read this book because I love the movie and really didn't even know there was a book. So, I borrowed it from my local library.

Sarah is much more flaky, gullible, naive with no backbone in the book. She's a complete mess and she doesn't know what she wants. She has a connection with John from the start but she somehow won't commit to him and goes on a wild, unnecessary, goose chase for "Mr. Right."
Her family is always surrounding her and giving her advice, which she usually just does the oppos
Nov 09, 2015 Sally906 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance, e-book, hens-lit, kobo
it was OK, very average. I had a bit of trouble connecting to Sarah - just didn't ever come to care about her. So in the end I found it a bit of struggle to stay focused and finish.
Jul 09, 2010 Maya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This quickly read novel was a small gem of emotional accuracy and non-overwriting. The story of one woman slowly finding her groove after divorce while juggling family, work, and lonliness left me smiling and satisfied as a reader. Cinema fans: the book is better than the movie.
Lisa B.
Sep 08, 2016 Lisa B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
One of my favorites by this author. Light, funny but still manages to carry a message.
May 31, 2012 Megan rated it it was ok
I really don’t know what to say about this book.

The main character Sarah is in her 40’s, teaches at what I believe was a daycare center, is divorced, and has a rather large family that loves to just show up at her house uninvited, meddle in what little of a dating life she has, and then you have the dad who comes off as a flaky man whore jumping from one woman to the next. Everyone in this family is full of advise that is not always the best and has what seem to be families of their own full of
Nov 12, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
For the longest time I had absolutely no idea that this story originated as a book, but having fallen absolutely head-over-heels in love with the movie, I decided to try it out when I stumbled upon a copy at my favorite used bookstore. Putting aside for a moment my opinions of film-versions of bestselling books (because I could talk all damn day about it) I'm prepared to talk warmly about both of them.

Claire Cook typed out a masterpiece when she dotted the final i in Must Love Dogs. I absolutel
Jul 17, 2011 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of this review is more a review of my first experience with an audiobook. Toward the end I'll discuss the book itself.
This was my first audiobook. When I decided to take my 5 mile run to the treadmill (rather than the roads) one day, I decided to check out an audio book online from my local library, to hopefully break the monotony of a treadmill workout. I chose this book because I remembered thinking the movie trailers looked cute (will now have to watch the movie) and it seemed an easy en
Jun 03, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit
Ohmigod, lamest book ever. Thank god it only took me like 2 days to read it. How could someone read this and say, lets make a movie? There are so many other good chick-lit books out there and this one was written for like a high schooler. Or did the movie come first and then someone wrote this book? Who knows. I never saw the movie and after this book, I have no plans to EVER see it. Shit, I just looked at IMDB to see who played what character, because I only knew the leads and Dermot Mulroney p ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Slayermel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes humor with their romance / chick lit
This book has very quickly been added to my favourite’s shelf; it had me laughing out loud so many times I had to keep checking around me to see if anyone noticed. *giggle*

I found the characters in this book were so real and easy to relate too, you know people just like them as well as being able to compare yourself and your own insecurities to them.

Sarah Hurlihy is a divorced forty something who seems to be going through a bit of a midlife crisis, she's depressed and feels utterly hopeless whe
Oct 02, 2012 Mamma rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-to-avoid
I am so ashamed of myself for even picking up this book. But what can I say? I was looking for a fun, light read. It was definitely light, but not fun. After two pages, I put it down. I picked it up again only to wish it wasn't a library book so I could burn it or throw it across the room. Stupid, stilted prose. Crummy, crummy, painfully embarrassing dialog. Yikes. Double yikes.
Kristy McRae
Mar 13, 2011 Kristy McRae rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book! Sarah is a great, believable character--very easy to relate to. I loved her zany Irish family--they were good for many laughs throughout the book. I lost count of how many times, while reading, I thought, "I've felt that way" or "I've done the exact same thing!"
Piepie Beuttel
Very fluffy story, and if I was picking a book to be made into a movie, I would not pick this one. It just does not stand out to me.

The story is dated... mention of fax machines and instead of online dating- which is prevalent today -some of the characters meet through a sort of telephone/voice mail system.

Claire was okay, but she didn't strike me as being very motivated. Her idea of a great night was sitting in front of The Brady Brunch with wine and Cheerios - or wine with macaroni and cheese
Dec 21, 2010 Miranda rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"This was a perfect holiday read, although truth be told I started before I left for holidays! If you are in your 30's, and dating, thinking about dating, or just remembering dating, this is a fun read that will leave your nodding your head in agreement and laughing out loud! The charactors are zany enough to keep you entertained, but realistic enought that you don't roll your eyes and give up on the story, and the story itself isn't original or groundbreaking, but this author has a way of reeli ...more
Nov 01, 2011 Laura rated it did not like it
This was the first time I read a book about a movie, instead of the other way around. I have never seen "Must Love Dogs", but judging by the trailers, people are better off watching it instead of reading this adaptation. The story is not the only thing to blame for my negative feedback. I can't really think of a romantic comedy I've read that I thoroughly enjoyed. As I've said before, I'm happy to be given any book titles you've liked in this genre.

"Must Love Dogs" is a story about a divorced wo
Cyndy Aleo
Jul 16, 2012 Cyndy Aleo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
I've been burned out on women's fiction for quite some time now, and especially burned out on women's fiction that's been turned into a movie starring Diane Lane. It seems to be a specific genre or something that just drives me nuts, but when author Allie Larkin tweeted a recommendation for Claire Cook's Must Love Dogs , which was free on Amazon, I decided to take a chance.

Sarah Hurlihy is 40, childless, and newly divorced. At the encouragement of one of her sisters (she comes from the stereoty
Apr 08, 2013 Christy rated it really liked it
Preschool teacher Sarah Hurlihy, encouraged by her close-knit Irish Catholic family, begins to think about dating after being divorced for two years. Sarah answers a personal ad in her local paper, only to find her date is her widowed father; something her family finds hilarious. Sarah’s sister Carol places a personal ad for Sarah which starts Sarah on the path to weeding out prospective dates. One or two hold promise but Sarah can’t seem to find the time for any relationship to marinate while d ...more
Särah Nour
Mar 01, 2012 Särah Nour rated it liked it
Romantic comedies are rarely as well done and as charming as Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook, a fun, light read with warmth as well as wit. Though rom-coms typically do not appeal to me, I found this one to be a highly enjoyable tale of a midlife crisis and the trials and tribulations of courtship.

Must Love Dogs tells the story of preschool teacher Sarah Hurlihy, who, having tired of spending evenings at home watching The Brady Bunch, attempts to venture back into the dating scene after her divorc
Moriah Day
Mar 09, 2015 Moriah Day rated it it was ok
I liked that I related to Sarah's emotional state and her feelings towards other people (she mostly didn't like people) but that's all I really cared for. I thought the dogs would play a larger role than they actually did. It felt like watching someone's normal, everyday life... there was nothing interesting, exciting or fun about it; it just was. Not my cup of tea. It's too good for one star-like I said, I could relate to the main character really well- but I'm not sure it really deserves two s ...more
Sep 23, 2016 Stephanie rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2012 Liz rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved the fast pace, great characters and terrific dialog of this novel. I have never seen the movie, and didn't even put the titles together until after I finished, so I have no idea if the movie does it justice or not.

Claire Cook is my new favorite writer. Her fictitious family are so wonderfully real that you want to be a member of the clan, or a least a fly on the wall at one of their holiday dinners. Her New England town and Irish American sense of humor made me home sick for NY
Jodi Schulz
Jan 05, 2015 Jodi Schulz rated it did not like it
Shelves: hated-it
I vaguely remembered seeing this movie and thinking it was cute, and so when it came up as a 99 cent kindle deal I decided to get it. I have read other things by this author and thought they were fluffy chic lit. This book is just dumb. It is not even enjoyable chic lit, it is just dumb. I read it over New Years weekend when it was rainy and cold and still could not find it enjoyable, it was just boring.
Nov 29, 2010 Peggy rated it really liked it
A quick, sweet read about a forty year old preschool teacher, recently divorced, looking for love. Sarah meets several men but she is not impressed. All kinds of antics occur, like her answering an add to find her widowed father is the writer. She almost gives up, but in the end she finds a suitable guy.
In between, she meets all kinds of odd and strange people, like Dolly, dad's old girlfriend, who serves the whole family raw turkey and talks about herself in the third person.

The title is taken
Jennifer Whiteford
Jun 29, 2011 Jennifer Whiteford rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Boy is this ever what they call a "beach read". Entertaining and quick. Easy reading is tough writing so I appreciate that, but a few things about the book bugged me. As with much of "chick lit" the protagonist is made out to be such a mess, it is almost impossible to understand why dashing men are attracted to her. But I liked the constant inclusion of her crazy family, the fact that she was 40, not 25, and that she lived in a small town, not a bustling city. Also, just personally, I liked the ...more
Jachira (yoshiblack16-loves-to-read)
It was a mess, that family was crazy but it was a fun book. I've never seen the movie so I'll do that next.
Sep 06, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Claire Cook's beguilingly original *Ready to Fall* struck a vibrant chord with its "perky take on midlife angst" (*Publishers Weekly*). In *Must Love Dogs* she gives us a contemporary Everywoman in a big rollicking south-of-Boston Irish family-a zany novel with the flavor of Nora Ephron, Susan Isaacs, and Jeanne Ray's Julie and Romeo.

Forty-year-old Sarah Hurlihy, a divorced preschool teacher whose life is her classroom, is about to meet her first date in more than a decade. It was the "Loves Do
Shannon L. Gonzalez
Apr 19, 2015 Shannon L. Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
Book Review:

Must Love Dogs

By Claire Cook

Renowned author, Claire Cook, started out with Must Love Dogs, a novel she wrote during her daughter’s early morning swim practices. Now this novel has been turned into a movie adaptation and is the beginning of a series of books.

It is hilarious as she follows a divorced preschool teacher, Sarah Hurlihy, as she re-enters the dating world. This novel details one Irish family’s close-knit bond and how that can help or hinder any dating prospects. The antics
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Life after divorce for Sarah Hurlihy consists of juggling her job as a preschool teacher and the demands of her interfering family. Then her bossy big sister decides to place a personal ad for her, and the wild ride begins.

Sarah is about to meet her first date in more than a decade. She is scanning her neighborhood café for the man with a yellow rose. And find him she does, but he's the last person on the planet she expects to see . . . .

Claire Cook gives us a contemporary Everywoman in
Sally Kilpatrick
Aug 19, 2014 Sally Kilpatrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so a 4.5, maybe.

Here's what I love: voice, easy going prose, quirky characters, winey mac&cheese.

Here are my issues: the ending was a little more ambiguous than I like and Sarah found herself in some situations that embarrassed me on her behalf. Now, that said, she is a likably flawed character. She reminds me of some of Kristan Higgins's characters in how she does things while I'm grimacing and shouting, "No! No! Don't do that!" That is a me thing. I have no hesitations in recommendin
Feb 14, 2014 Amy rated it liked it
I am not sure why I never read this one, but it was an enjoyable, light read. Ok, minor annoyance here....but if the book features a St. Bernard puppy, why change that (see movie cover book). At least the original cover had a Saint puppy. Top pet peeve of mine - putting a different breed on the cover other than the one featured in the book - that is like bait and switch to me. Of course, I know the author has little control over it. Yet, I am picking up the sequel and there is a Bernese Mt. Dog ...more
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I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. I'm now the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of 16 books. If you have a buried dream, take it from me, it is NEVER too late!

I've reinvented myself once again by turning Must Lov
More about Claire Cook...

Other Books in the Series

Must Love Dogs (3 books)
  • Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life (Must Love Dogs, #2)
  • Must Love Dogs: Fetch You Later

Share This Book

“I confronted the fact that I was not only talking to a dog, but answering for one.” 10 likes
“Maybe part of find what you wanted was recognizing what you didn't want. Maybe there was hope for me yet.” 5 likes
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