Irene's Reviews > Roam: A Novel with Music

Roam by Alan Lazar
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's review
Nov 16, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: 2012-books
Read from January 23 to 24, 2012

This has to be one of the most incredible books I've read in awhile, and I don't mean that in a good way. Incredible in that it stretched beyond the boundaries of believability, plausability. I read it quickly, not because I couldn't put it down, but because it was so bad and I kept hoping it would improve, and once I had invested enough time in it, I just wanted to get through it.

I realize that this book was written to illuminate the bonds between people and their pets, to try to point out the problems of animal overpopulation, overcrowded/understaffed shelters, kill shelters, backyard breeders, etc. but for me it didn't hit the mark. A nonfiction expose might have called attention to the problem in a more appropriate fashion, or a fiction story that didn't try too hard to be too many things at once.

The narrative reads like a children's story in most places -- I could picture a child enjoying Nelson's adventures as he explores the world, smells grass and flowers, plays with his owners, explores his yard... until we get to the parts about all the noises/smells that occur when people have sex. The author seems preoccupied with this. Whether it's Katy and Don, Thatcher the trucker and his one-night-stands, etc. sex seems so mechanical. Ironic considering that when Nelson is drawn to mount Lucy when she's in heat, they are described as "making love" and taking great pleasure in it. Really???? What is this, some perverted Disney story of Lady Does the Tramp????

Almost all the people in the book are miserable. Whether it's Katy and her lying/cheating husband, the trucker and his lonely life, or the various pet store/shelter/vet employees it seems everyone is unhappy in their lives, lonely, divorced/widowed/broken relationships, dead-end jobs. A little too cliche.

The book also wanders into Wild Kingdom territory -- with coyotes hunting, discussions of predators/prey, and the entire laws of the pack of wolves. So, you get Nelson frolicking with the cubs, being nurtured/protected by the mother wolf, once again a nice warm fuzzy children's story, and then graphic detail of them hunting/eviscerating their kill. And then Nelson figures out he's going to be eaten next, runs away and goes on to his next adventure.

By the time he's with Jake and Oliver and Katy reemerges, we are again made to believe that a pair of total strangers would meet because of a fuzzy video of the three-legged dog dancing (nine years after running away). If your dog was gone that long and was now with a family, would you really travel that far to reclaim it (especially if you had only had it for maybe a year that long ago). Would the new family really have given him back that easily? And, even more ridiculous, would they really have invested that much time and energy in visits -- they were never together as a family to share custody like that. I know my parents never would have driven me four hours away repeatedly just to visit a stray dog I'd taken in. By the time Evan leaves, I knew exactly where the book was heading. How nauseatingly sweet that Katy and Jake wind up together and Nelson can live the ressst of his natural life with all his favorite people.


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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Kris (new)

Kris Guess I'll be skipping this one!!!

Irene or read it to see if you agree! I loved the Art of Racing in the Rain and I hate that the book jacket compares the two

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