Linda Lombardi's Reviews > A Pug's Tale

A Pug's Tale by Alison Pace
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's review
Aug 06, 2011

liked it

I hated this author's previous pug-themed book, Pug Hill, because it was a total bait and switch: get people to buy a book because of pugs, and trick them into reading one of those lame modern novels about an uninteresting person and her unbelievably trivial problems. You will note from my other reviews that I mostly read genre fiction, and this is because in genre fiction, writers have to have imagination. They can't just drone on and on about people's feelings and have nothing in particular happen. The books have to work for a living, you know?

And to make it even more offensive, the character had a really interesting job as an art conservator at the Met - a job which was in fact one of my childhood dreams. So a writer who could take that, and pugs, and turn it into a lame modern novel about people's feelings and their trivial problems... I seriously wanted to wring her neck.

So, long story short, I would never have read this one except a friend was so excited to say she'd bought it and I could borrow it. And she was so pleased and so sure I would like it - because, pugs! New York! - that I hated to disappoint her, so I had to at least give it a try.

Well, it is much better. Stuff actually happens, and the stuff is fairly interesting and you want to know how it turns out, although the very last plot twist really might be a bit too much.
As a mystery it's not what you'd call sophisticated, but it's cute. One thing that I did enjoy, that I can sympathize with, is that she conveys the feeling of working in a place like that - a great institution that does a thing that you love, where you know all the ins and outs and all the secret places. And the character can be amusing, although she treads a very fine line between "kind of cute" and "someone you want to slap" and to my taste crosses it a little too often. I also feel like some of her writing mannerisms are similar to my own, and not the good ones, which I always find vastly annoying in a writer who is much more successful than I am, although I suppose perhaps I should instead feel encouraged, like it means that my writing has the potential for equal success.

So anyway, it is clear that I will never get rid of all the simmering resentment that impedes my enjoyment of this book, which is sad because - pugs! New York! Childhood dream job as art conservator! Mystery! But nevertheless I am able to admit that any normal person, who doesn't come to this book with all the baggage I bring along, will probably find it an enjoyable read. And you don't have all of my crazy problems so that's all you need to know.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Janet I felt the same about Pug Hill (if not so intensely) and I am so glad I happened to read this one first! I think I would have seen the "line" more clearly had I read it second (or not read it at all). Instead I just have much fondness for A Pug's Tale.

Linda Lombardi It's encouraging to know that someone relatively saner has a similar opinion.

Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) I was not at all a fan of Pug Hill. I have to read things in order, so after I'd already agreed to receive and review A Pug's Tale, I went back and read Pug Hill. I agree with everything you say in this review. It was one of the hardest books for me to get through that I have read in recent months. I was not looking forward to reading A Pug's Tale--which is why I'm reading it many months later instead of when it first came out--but I was actually able to get through the first 4 chapters really quickly. It's definitely more enjoyable, and all the things about Hope that bothered me in the first book are taking a back seat to this fun little museum mystery.

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