Jim Grimsley's Reviews > Year of the Dog
Year of the Dog
Jim Grimsley's review
Mar 05, 2021
This is my introduction to Shelby Hearon; the book was very readable, clear, and moved forward nicely, the story of a woman who must reinvent her emotional life after a divorce. The most interesting part of the book is that she chooses to train a companion dog for a year, leaving home and her job in a pharmacy to do so. Along the way there is the story of a reunion between an orphan and his birth parents, some comic scenes with the protagonist's parents, and other encounters that are interesting. But the drama rarely risks anything dangerous or hard and is not very well drawn in emotional terms. I can see the budding romance but cannot feel much of it. The most puzzling lack, however, is the dog of the title. I wish Hearon had leaned into this part of her story more. The passages about the dog, the owner/borrower's distanced relationship with her, and the need to raise the dog exactly as required for the service life she will lead, all these are some of the best writing in the book, and certainly the freshest, but this side of the book is also hard to feel. I want to say this aspect of the book should have been much larger but that is me rewriting someone else's novel again. Despite my quibbles, this was a good read and I would like to encounter more of her work. She has some very impressive credentials as a writer.
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March 5, 2021 – Shelved