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Walking in Circles Before Lying Down

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,700 Ratings  ·  771 Reviews
Dawn Tarnauer’s life isn’t exactly a success story. Already twice divorced, the young Californian is too busy job-hopping to start a career, her current boyfriend insists on living “off the grid,” her Life Coach sister perpetually interferes with incomprehensible affirmations, her eccentric mother is busy promoting the culmination of her life’s work: The Every Holiday Tree ...more
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Published August 1st 2006 by Villard (first published January 1st 2006)
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Aug 17, 2007 Jody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think that Merrill Markoe meant to write a work of great literature. This book is *fun*. If you have a good imagination and a sense of play, it's a very entertaining, wonderful book. Merill Markoe's dogs are much wittier and to the point than mine . Read it for fun. I laughed all the way through and have recommended it to all of the playful, imaginative people I know.
Jan 02, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, funny
As a dog owner, I found this book hilarious and strangely informative.

Did you ever think you could understand what your dog is saying to you? My beagle is constantly saying things like, "Take me out now please!" or "I really would like some of that organic uncured turkey bacon you're eating."

In this book, the main character's dog takes pity on her and really does start talking to her. And so do all the other dogs she knows, which is a lot as she works at a dog daycare.

And you know, I find mysel
Sarah Raskin
Jul 03, 2007 Sarah Raskin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. It's rare that I don't finish a book...or a movie, for that matter. Particularly one that I enter into *looking* for fluff.

"Walking in Circles" is, to me, the equivalent of "Elizabethtown" -- all of the right elements are there (appealing setting, familiar characters, familiar author/filmmaker), but were so unimaginatively executed, I had to stop half-way through so as to not reward lowest-common-denominator work.
Zippy and predictable, with one of the laugh out loud-est passages I have ever read. After some serious life missteps, the protagonist's dog, Chuck (a pit bull mix), starts talking to her. She also hears other dogs, like Johnny Depp, a little pup she house-sits for. And this happens:

“Someone’s at the door! Someone’s at the door!!” they both yelled.

“I just told you, it’s my—” I called, knowing they couldn’t hear.

“Hey, get away from the door, you miserable jack-off,” I heard Chuck shout at my dad
Ya know, I feel a bit let down after reading this book. The cover is literally squashed with reviewers talking about how witty and funny the doggy dialogue is, but I didn't think it was that great. Nothing was mind-blowingly funny, and several of the characters went beyond quirky and slipped slowly into the just-flat-annoying category. The plot was as transparent as really really old socks, and I ended up not caring about Dawn because why should I? She didn't seem to think she was worth anything ...more
Mar 30, 2009 Jacqie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute one. It's about a girl who has a horrible dysfunctional family and keeps making bad choices. She works at a doggy day care. One day, after her boyfriend walks out on her, her dog (and all the other dogs) start talking to her, giving her advice, telling her to follow her instincts.
The family and relationship dynamics are things we've seen before- we all know she needs to dump the using boyfriend and go out with the cute nerd. What is unusual and funny is the dialogue with the dog
Feb 10, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers
I loved this book! If you love dogs, you should like it a lot. It was a really quick read, I literally read it in a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I wasn't feeling too well. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats and my husband and I are always talking to them and making them talk back to us, so this book was a great read for me. So cute!
Jul 29, 2007 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, really funny stuff.

I want Merrill Markoe to be my friend, so I can listen to her snarky but right-on-the-money comments.
Daniel Clausen
My apologies to Ms. Merrill Markoe--there is no good reason to give this book 3 stars instead of say 4 or 5. I think the book is exactly what it wants to be: it's a light read about growing up and finding your way in life that also has talking dogs. It's at times comfortable falling into cliche and looks ironically at its own obedience to genre. It has elements of chick-lit, RomCom, whatever you want to call it; Starbucks coffee appears quite a bit in the book, etc. I don't think the book needs ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Jenny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-lit-fic
The Blurb: Dawn Tarnauer's life isn't exactly a success story. Already twice divorced, the young Californian is too busy job-hopping to support a career, her Life Coach sister provides perpetual interference, and her eccentric parents need parenting. (Life in disarray, but not a tragedy. Promising start. ) Dawn's only source of security and comfort, it seems, is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. (Yay! Dogs! I love dogs!) So when her boyfriend announces that he's leaving her for another woman ...more
Dec 11, 2014 Bren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not sure why I stayed with this book for the duration. All of the characters were unlikeable and complete train wrecks. I am a huge animal lover and was very disappointed that the author couldn't make the dogs likeable.
Nancy Baker
This book fell short of my expectations. A family made up of people with little ambition and even smaller accomplishments. Divorced parents composed of a self-serving mother and a father who thinks himself a playboy and balanced by two grown daughters who appear to have attended a school promoting small business opportunities for underachievers. The highlight came about 80 pages into the story when Dawn (a dog walker, bather and sitter) began hearing her canine clients speaking to her. Now THAT ...more
Tracy Antol
Mar 20, 2013 Tracy Antol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
I should have liked this book more. I like Merrill Markoe. I LOVE dogs. So why don't I love this book? I feel like it was a bit all over the place. Hopeful when I read passages like "she had a sociopath tracking device where her heart was supposed to be" seemed promising. The dog starts to talk about 30% of the way in. He's just a carciature of what a human thinks a dog is saying. If we're comparing dog characters I loved Garth Stein's Enzo to pieces. Chuck is just the Adam Carolla of the dog wo ...more
Sep 05, 2015 Kasey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book could have been really great. The premise was great, the conversations with the dogs were great - I was laughing out loud quite a few times. It was like Eliza Thornberry for adults.

But come on. NO ONE'S life is that messed up. It was so unrealistic, and I'm not even talking about the talking to dogs part. Two failed marriages, a sister/life coach who dated two wife-killers and a mom who's crazy about making a Christmas tree for the whole year. Let's not even start on Dawn's abusive-but
Jan 20, 2015 Mehgan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The characters were completely unlike able. I thought I'd like to see a dog talk and what he'd possibly say but then I didn't even like the dog. The author just doesn't really seem to know how to write good dialogue. The main character, Dawn, is very whiny and unmotivated and has no backbone to speak of so all the other characters spent their time berating her and she just took it, all the while every once and a while blaming her parents for the way she is.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. I
I usually *hate* stories in which animals play a major role (especially stories involving dogs), so I was surprised when I liked this bizarro fake memoir of a woman who talks with dogs. It's better than it sounds!
Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
by Merrill Markoe

Clever story about Dawn Tarnauer, a twice-divorced Californian who can't seem to catch a break, either in life or love. She has terrible instincts and judgment about people, stemming from being surrounded by narcissists her whole life. Her sister, Halley, is the same in that she has a strange history of picking the wrong men, including an infamous killer, whom she is sure is being framed. To know Halley for any length of time was to know
A friend of mine forced this into my hands, and who am I to refuse a book with a doggie on the cover?

I skimmed reviews of this book when I started out, and I have to say that I could see their point on a lot of things. It took a very long time for the story to get started - I could see why some people quit early.

I was excited at the thought of reading a dog's perspective, but the depiction here was lacking. I think W. Bruce Cameron nailed the dog's perspective in "A Dog's Purpose," and so readin
Jul 24, 2014 Cory rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You Know how in many books there is one character who you wish that you could roll into a ball and have some professional football or soccer player (yes, I know that those are the same thing in Europe) would just bunt them as hard as they possibly could? Oh you have noticed that, well this book is chock full of them. One of my neighbors lent this book to me actually because she disliked it and wanted my opinion on it. When I returned it to her today, she said she planed to apologize for recommen ...more
Donna LaValley
I’d never read a book by Merril Markoe but I MIGHT give her another try, for the same reason as the reason I give this book 3 instead of 2 stars: once in awhile, there is a line so delicious that I had to stop and just savor it. For me those lines were given by Dawn, the main character, in skewering the psycho-babble talk of her “Life Coach” sister, whose life couldn’t have been more of a mess but who decided that Life Coaching was the perfect profession for herself.

Dawn’s family is dysfunction
Jul 11, 2011 Robotbee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love to lend this book to people. Unlike the Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, which I hated more than I can say, this is a dog book that brings me endless joy.

Dawn is floundering, in both relationships and in life, and suddenly her beloved dog Chuck starts to talk to her. Not by moving his lips, like in those awful videos, but in her head. Besides translating dog behaviour for her, he offers solid advice as well as acting as the impetus for a series of amusing interactions.

I love th
Lori Whitwam
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2008 Misti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a 'meh' book. After reading another book about dogs (Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog), I thought I'd try out this one which just happened to be on a shelf at the library I was perusing. It took waaaaaay too long to get into the real story, and once I had, the author tried to make it as obnoxious and dumb as possible.

Which is not to say the book is without merit, but honestly, a butcher/meat guy orgy? No thanks. The narrator/protagonist's family is also beyond an
Timothy Juhl
I'd been hoping for something purely escapist to read, something that didn't require much thought and this was the perfect solution to cleanse my brain of the more intense reading I'd done of late.

It's a fast read, and completely absurdist. There are dogs, and I love dog stories. It has some funny moments, like watching a half-baked sitcom that manages to pull a small laugh once an episode.

The writing is abbreviated, too California, too Hollywood, I suppose, but I don't regret the indulgence. It
Feb 04, 2014 Lynsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
It took me a lot longer to read this book than it should have. I started it in October, and I don't know whether it was a really slow starting book or what, but I didn't pick it up again until January. I kept wanting to be interested, but I somehow wasn't. And then it would be so long between times I read it that I would have to go back and remind myself what was going on. Overall, it was a cute story. I didn't find the human characters particularly easy to relate to, but I did like all the dogs ...more
May 09, 2014 Lori rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book had the neatest premise (especially to a dog lover like myself!) about a woman who can suddenly and inexplicably hear all dogs talking to her, and they can hear her in return. What this book ended up being was a hot mess of several different characters that never went anywhere and storylines that were introduced but never really got any resolutions. There was tons of untapped potential in having dogs speak to humans (aside from the basics like "Arf" and "Woof") but that was really neve ...more
Spoilers-you have been warned.
Ugh. I so wanted to like this book more than I did. I am a dog lover, my Jack Jack is like my child and him being able to talk to me would be amazing. I liked the idea of this book, there was just so much to it. The constant drama/new crisis in Dawn's life was confusing. She was really unstable at times-the moving from place to place really drove me crazy. Her self esteem sucked and she let her family walk all over her. Chuck was the most reliable and stable through
Our protagonist is a romantic loser whose increasingly pathetic existence is dealt a curveball the day her dog begins to talk to her. And not just her dog. She soon realizes she can hold conversations with other dogs as well. And what do all these dogs have to say? Oh, you know, pretty much what you’d expect a dog to say if you’ve read any of those anthromorphic animal comic strips. They offer “hilarious” insights into relationships and life, are able to recognize and identify an Oasis song but, ...more
May 12, 2012 Kaitlin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by the premise of this book and thought it might be a quick, fun read. Unfortunately, this book is not worth reading. The characters are whiny and don't have any redeeming qualities. The dogs talking thing was too cutesy and cliche and doesn't make up for the lack of a plot.

Markoe also inserted bits where the narrator talks about the book itself as it's being told in retrospect. Sometimes self-aware storytellers can pull off things like that, but it just didn't work. I think some
May 05, 2008 Tracy added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal Lovers
Recommended to Tracy by: Ginny
This book is wonderful for all the dog lovers out there. I just couldn't put it down! It rang so true b/c my dog was such a part of my family and I talked to her all the time. As I read the book I was laughing my butt off the whole time:) It did make me sad that my baby Girl is not living with me anymore but I am at peace with the decision I made. Boy if dogs could talk and tell all of our deep dark secrets...we would all be in It is sooo true that an animals love is unconditional b ...more
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An author, a television writer and a sometime standup comedienne.
More about Merrill Markoe...

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“Maybe this is kind of cliche, but animals, well, dogs, are what I do for a living. One reason I like spending time with them so much is they seem to think people are really good. They live with us, and obey our rules, most of which make no sense to them. And the main reason they do it is because they like us. When I watch them, sometimes I'm so blow away by how enthusiastic they are about everything we do that I have to go out and buy them something squeaky or chewy. Just because I love proving to them that it's not a mistake to see the world as a great benevolent place. I hope one day to react to something with as much pure ecstasy as I see in Chuck's face every time I throw the ball. Sometimes he looks so happy, it reminds me of the way blind people smile way too big because they can't see themselves. And if none of this links to anything in you, well... I think you don't know who I am.” 44 likes
“I always hated those classic kid movies like Old Yeller or The Yearling where the beloved pet dies. What would be so wrong with having those damn kids learn their lessons about mortality from watching Grandpa kick? Then at least the dog would be around to comfort them.” 13 likes
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