Review: Ann Garvin, The Dog Year

Posted on Dec 18 2014 - 8:40pm by Claire Herbaux
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Dog YearI came across The Dog Year in the Yale bookshop. I only looked at the back to see if it actually had anything to do with a dog; it said a dog got someone through a hard time. I bought it for the title and the cover. I am a dog-lover, so seeing the dog nose peek over a table, made me think of my own little dog, who would happily take anything from the table at any time.

The novel is about Lisa, and how a dog got her through a tough time in life. Most of us will have one eventually, so we might understand what she is going through. Or not. I didn’t understand her kleptomania for quite a while. It took time. I went on a journey with her; the more she learnt about herself, the more I did.

It took a while to get started; I knew what the situation was and I wanted to start seeing the solution. What was this story going to be about? How would Lisa get her life back on track?
Half-way through the book, I shared my feelings on twitter. I finally made it to the solution, not the end, but what could be a way out for her.

And here is what I like about twitter: The interaction. Yes, Ann Gavin replied, and said how much she liked Lucy herself. I thought about the character for a minute; so far there had been something odd about her but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. But thinking about it, it wasn’t her, it was the honest way in which she was described: She is the person we all are. Deep inside at least. But Lucy doesn’t sugar coat things and she doesn’t try to fit in socially. She knows she doesn’t and that is ok.

At that point, I started really liking her. I finally understood her character and how similar she is to all of us. And from then on, I didn’t stop reading and things kept developing. The characters became deeper, storylines unravelled and Lisa got her life together (I am not taking the ending away here, we all know the story is about her recovery.)

Apart from thinking the beginning is quite long and the end very sudden, it was a book in which I could relate to things I hadn’t even thought of before. A story which could be told very simply (I won’t summarise and spoil it), made into a journey we all share.

Once I saw Lucy for who she was, and realised we would probably all be like her if the one thing to protect us from the world was taken away, I walked along her all the way. It’s safe to say “I love Lucy” has taken on a new meaning.

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