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The Labrador Pact

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  651 ratings  ·  129 reviews
The story of a family in crisis and the loyal dog that holds them together, from the witty and imaginative author of The Dead Fathers Club

Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,224)
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Tim
This interesting book is the second adult novel from Mr. Haig, the author of the excellent and heartbreaking Dead Father's Club. The Labrador Pact is told exclusively from the point of view of a labrador named Prince, and the book details Prince's efforts to save his human family from being broken up by the forces of the outside world.

The entire book is a kind of extended (but loose) retelling of some of the main issues presented in Shakespeare's history plays. As with Dead Father's Club's rewor
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Lori Whitwam
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shonna Froebel
If you're an animal person, this book may not be for you. I felt sick when I finished, like I'd been kicked in the stomach, and it left me feeling hopeless.
The story is told from the dog's point of view. Prince is adopted as a puppy into the home of Adam and Kate and their two children, Hal and Charlotte. Prince abides by the Labrador pact, with a sense of duty toward his family. He must protect them, keep them safe and always be on the lookout for threats to their wellbeing, not just as individ
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Maybaby
Well...as a jaded reader whose finding it hard to find worthy reads. This one was a worthy read.
It's a quick read.
I won't spoil it for anyone.
It's not a great literary work. It's a fine piece of light modern fiction.
Ian Mapp
oved this book.

Simple tale told from the family labrador (Prince).

You know that he is in trouble from the start when he reveals on the first page that he is about to be put down. The question is how did he get there.

The labradors have a pact to protect the family and prince's family are in trouble. The parents are fighting and the father is about to embark on an affair with the hippy new neighbor. There is some history here, as it transpires that the hippy is married to the fathers former best f
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Hollowspine
Although I gave this book four stars it is not because I "really liked it." The book was written from a dog's perspective. And it was very well done. That alone deserves a lot of credit, to write an entire novel from dog POV and have it work beautifully and not come out like a joke is very difficult. The plot and story flowed gracefully towards the conclusion, not heavy handed at all. Overall a very well-written tight novel.

But having finished the story I feel depressed. Everything was so dark,
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Gooddeeds
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debra  Golden
a good read, and a bit sad. I finished it yesterday and like life, not quite a happy ending for everyone. The lab is doing it's best to follow the "pact" and care for it's human family, but finds (despite what it has been told) that the dog can't make it all better.
The philosophizing was curious fun. Of course, Labs live to serve and earn the eternal reward, but Springer's (and cats) are in it for themselves. There is quite a bit of humor in it (and some quite dark) as in the conversations betw
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Samantha V
I really wanted to like this book, especially after listening to the audio book of A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, but I was pretty disappointed. I have to believe that I enjoy books written from the perspective of animals, but this book just wasn't as believable as I would like. It just seemed too forced and emotionally disconnected for my taste.

There was an element of mystery and suspense throughout the book, especially considering at the very beginning of the book, you've got some heavy
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Ebony Pharamond
I decided this was my favourite book by the time I was halfway through. Perfectly written, poignant, adorable, bizarre, miserable, jaw-dropping...intense!

The ending is a bit disappointing. Awful and sad. But I suppose it goes to show life never just stops with a happy moment, there aren't really any happy endings.

Matt Haig definitely... connects with you. The dog, Prince, he just comes alive. Jumps right out of the pages. And the humans, you feel you can relate, you grow to love them and you w
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Dreamydreamer
This book was a good read, it made me look at my own dogs behaviour! I'm glad I don't let my dog see me naked, at least if he writes a book he can't describe me! I found it slightly menacing - which bothers me - the words - "she collects people" has stayed with me. I got that dark feeling at the end of the first third and didn't want to pick it up, but I cannot leave a unfinished book (it feels wrong) and after this I found it easier! Not predictable and finishes well....
Kim
Jul 04, 2010 Kim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
I don't like to read dog-centered books because the dog always seems to die through no fault of his own and it's very sad. This story follows that blueprint as well (don't worry, I didn't ruin anything, you find out early on). Like in The Art of Racing in the Rain, this story is narrated by the dog and is often humorous. The plot seems a little far-fetched, but there's an unexpected twist toward the end that made me appreciate the book more.
Eliza
The four-star rating owes a lot to Simon Jones, who is an amazing narrator. I'd listen to anything he does on audio - he brings things to a whole other level. Other than that the story was good and the narrator engaging, even if the premise was a little hard to swallow. I liked how every scene is described according to smell, and I admired how loyal and sincere Prince is even if it doesn't always work out for him.
Kyra
I am so embarrassed - the Shakespeare stuff just flowed right past me (except for Falstaff - gotta love that madwag). I am a little at odds with the reviewers who found it amusing or serio-comic, because I found it simply tragic, but probably that is because I am a dog person and I have a Labrador who does everything Prince does in the novel on a daily basis. Not that anyone in our family is busy having affairs or popping zits frantically or even measuring our erections, but our Labrador does do ...more
Norrin2
This is not your typical feel good dog story. I can't imagine anybody feeling good after they finish this. Prince believes in the Labrador pact - duty above all, the family must be protected - until it doesn't work anymore and he has to violate the pact to save the family. And it costs him his life which would be tragic enough but it would be a tragedy with some meaning if the author had not shown that the family was doomed anyway despite Prince's sacrifice. Damned if you do, damned if you don't ...more
Cousin It
I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA books. Just keep in mind it is based on one of Shakespeare's more tragic histories. Cool website too-
http://www.labradorpact.com/
Donald
I think the title change for the American market has completely skewed some of these reviews, calling 'The Last Family In England', 'The Labrador Pact', has meant it appealed to lonely middle aged female dog lovers, who not realising it's a reworking of a classic Shakespeare History Play take umbrage to the fictional talking dog being put to sleep. I mean, of course, Matt Haig should change the ending so the fluffy wuffy ickle widdle doggy doesn't die at the end. FFS. This isn't a heart warming ...more
Paul Pessolano
There are some books that are very difficult to review. This is one of them. I liked this book but it takes some doing to get through it. It is a story about a Labrador Retriever, and I have a Lab. It will also be difficult for any animal lover.

The book is about an English household and "Prince" their Lab. The story is told by Prince and his actions are guided by "The Labrador Pact". Basically, the Pact states that all Labs are responsible for their human families and that their actions affect t
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Karen Field
If you have ever own a dog…or a cat…then The Last Family in England by Matt Haig might be of interest to you. The story is told from the dog’s point of view and the view point is so convincing, I found myself looking at my pets and wondering if they were thinking the things Prince, from the book, was thinking. And, I almost convinced myself that they were!

The book covers a wide range of topics; some of which are quite embarrassing so I won’t even attempt to go into those here. But the safer ones
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Philippa
Review published in the New Zealand Herald, 5 June 2004

The Last Family in England
Matt Haig
(Jonathan Cape, $34.95)

Reviewed by Philippa Jamieson

How to spice up what might otherwise have been a pedestrian novel: narrate it from an unusual point of view. The protagonist of The Last Family in England is an earnest young Labrador called Prince, who lives with the Hunter family. Every day in the park he meets his mentor, Henry, an older Labrador who tutors him in the principles of the Labrador Pact.
The
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Amy
In the canine world of philosophy, the Labrador Pact ("Duty over all!") is threatened by the Springer Uprising's carpe diem approach. Main character, Prince, believes wholeheartedly in the Labrador Pact. He believes that he is 100% in control of his human family's happiness, and any dysfunction in their lives is entirely his fault. As minor things go wrong in Prince's family, it's cute to see how Prince responds. But in the last quarter of the book, Prince follows the Pact through to some bitter ...more
Jennifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Theresa
This book is the story of the Hunter family as told by their dog, Prince, a black labrador. This is not a happy book--do not read this book if you want to feel good at the beginning or at the end.

Prince goes for daily walks to the park with his master Adam and meets up with an older, wiser golden labrador, named Henry who tutors him in "the labrador pact". The labrador pact teaches that labradors must protect their families ("duty above all") and that if they do so then they will get their "ete
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Pythia
Vedere il mondo attraverso gli occhi di un labrador è un'esperienza unica: se poi veniamo illuminati riguardo a un Patto che garantisce la sicurezza delle Famiglie attraverso la presenza e assistenza del cane, in missione segreta, la cosa si fa ancora più interessante.
Gli spunti sono buoni: una famiglia come tante a in crisi per nulla di diverso da ciò che manderebbe in crisi chiunque. Un lutto, due figli adolescenti, un vecchio amore che torna dal passato e un'avventura che aspetta di essere co
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Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna
Prince is a good dog. To his family, the Hunters--Adam, Kate, and their children, Hal and Charlotte--that's all he is, a young black Lab fond of chasing sticks and walks in the park. But to Prince, the Hunters are a sacred responsibility: his duty under the generations-old Labrador Pact is to keep them together. And he believes he can do it; with the help of his mentor, Henry, he learns to observe the humans' moods, detect and deflect threats from without, even defuse situations by means of elev ...more
Sarah
Duty Over All - this is the main tenet of the Labrador Pact, upheld by Labradors who believe that protecting their human family is of the utmost importance. Protect one family, protect them all. Now Prince's family, the Hunters, is under threat both from within and from without, and he's starting to find that The Pact hasn't equipped him to deal with the dangers he and his family are facing. What must he do to keep the family he loves together and safe?

The concept sounds a bit cheesy at face val
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LindyLouMac
It took me a long time to get into this and I nearly gave up. My husband said I should continue and he was right! I liked it in the end and was glad I persevered but it is not going to stand out as a favourite read for this year, guess that is probably why it sat so long on our bookshelves before I selected it for the Letter L in the A - Z Title Challenge.

I am an animal lover but I definitely prefer cats to dogs so I did not find it easy to empathise with the narrator of the story ' Prince' who
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Debbie
Mar 06, 2014 Debbie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: easy to read but not easy read. hilarious but so sad.
Recommended to Debbie by: read this author before
The spoiler is on the first page of this book as well as the good reads list it is on, but I read it filled with trepidation anyway. Prince is so smart. He is conflicted at every turn, has to make a lot of choices, I don't agree with all of them but he does defend and stand by his choices. All I can say is "Good dog. Good dog".
Smell is all in this book. On page 181"Tobacco. Stale piss. Sweat. Lust. Total despair." is how Prince describes the smell of a teenage boy.
Jennifer Priester
I read this book simply because I like animal point of view stories.
Although I didn't really like it, I also didn't hate it. This was more of a good but not my type kind of story. When I got this book I didn't know it was an adult novel which is where most of my problems were with it.
From my viewpoint it is a well written and realistic story as reality often does not have a happy end especially when it comes to dogs who make mistakes as Prince does. Though the end is sad and predictable as the
...more
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Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as 'delightfully weird' and the New York Times has called him 'a novelist of great talent' whose writing is 'funny, rive ...more
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