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Must Love Dogs (Must Love Dogs #1)

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  6,946 ratings  ·  457 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)
And stay tuned for lots more to come!

"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-loved USA Today bestselling novel by Claire Cook. Th
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Paperback, 292 pages
Published July 5th 2005 by NAL Trade (first published June 1st 2002)
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The Notebook by Nicholas SparksThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanThe 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
325th out of 804 books — 8,376 voters
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Books that Make you Laugh
497th out of 2,278 books — 3,272 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Elaine
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
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
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Stephanie
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
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Michele
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
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Rebecca
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
Slayermel
Mar 24, 2011 Slayermel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Mamma
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
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!"
Maya
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.
Megan
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
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Miranda
"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
Laura
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
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Cyndy Aleo
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
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Christy
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
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
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Moriah Day
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
Liz
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
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Jodi Schulz
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.
Peggy
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
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Jennifer Whiteford
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
Shannon L. Gonzalez
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
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Kris
3 STARS

"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
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Sally Kilpatrick
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
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Amy
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
Brittany Johnson
Part of the reason I picked this book up was because I ADORE the movie. I try to walk into books that have become film adaptations remembering that movie people and book people are different and are looking for different things. I was pleasantly surprised with how many similarities there were in the book and movie. That being said, it means I adored this book!

Sarah is a bit more flighty than I was expecting, although that added a certain charm to her. She's a bit more lighthearted and less serio
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Allison
There are many books out that focus on relationships - past and present, failed and successful - and how to remedy them. In fact, many books take a humorous approach to the personal ads. Claire Cook's Must Love Dogs is the best of that group. She has written a sweet yet amusing book that takes a good attitude towards dating, without making it the focus of the story. This is my first Claire Cook novel, and I found she reminds me of Sara Lewis.
Jenn
I saw the movie, which was cute, but didn't realize it was based on a book. Usually I prefer the book, but not this time. I thought the movie was a typical chick flick with the obligatory happy ending. The book was even more so.

Sarah Hurlihy is a divorced preschool teacher, shoved back into dating by her overwhelming Irish family. I found the main character rather pathetic, wandering through her life feeling sorry for herself. The supporting family members were too cliche (the overbearing older
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Jess
I really enjoyed this book, not only because of its witty dialogue and humorous situations, but because rather than being a traditional love story, it explores how difficult it is to find someone, and how sometimes it's not necessarily the finding that's important, but the things you learn about yourself along the way. The family this book centers around is crazy, and somehow very familiar.
Aisha
Hmm...after all the hype about the movie (which I have never seen), I thought I'd give this book a shot. The main character was believable but I found myself annoyed with her more often than not...I don't know... Anyway, it wasn't horrible but I was glad to be done. I think I might rent the movie JUST to see if this is one case where the movie is better than the book!
Suzyberry
What a great title and what an inventive way to find a man through a dating service. I really enjoyed this book...the family interaction was true-to-life as were the emotions the main character must deal with in this new world of finding the 'right' one. It was a book that hit all the right notes for me...and the movie did the same. Don't miss either version.
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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. If you have a buried dream, take it from me, it is NEVER too late!

I've reinvented myself once again by turning Must Love Dogs into a series, writing my first nonfiction book, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to R
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More about Claire Cook...

Other Books in the Series

Must Love Dogs (3 books)
  • New Leash on Life (Must Love Dogs, #2)
  • Fetch You Later (Must Love Dogs, #3)
Seven Year Switch Life's a Beach The Wildwater Walking Club Summer Blowout Wallflower in Bloom

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“I confronted the fact that I was not only talking to a dog, but answering for one.” 9 likes
“Maybe part of find what you wanted was recognizing what you didn't want. Maybe there was hope for me yet.” 2 likes
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