In the beginning, I did not like this book. One of the main characters is a giant puppy but I felt like I was being slapped in the face with pretentiousness in every paragraph. None of the characters had names. The narrator was a writer describing all her writer friends – and talking endlessly about famous writers. Writers writing about writers writing about writers just never ends well. But somewhere, and I’m not sure where, I turned the corner. It must have been the dog.
This is largely a book about loss, grief, and coping. Our narrator has lost an old friend and fellow writer to suicide. Said old friend was absolutely insufferable (in my opinion, that’s also why I had a hard time with the beginning of this book) – the kind of professor who called all the women in his classes ‘dear’ and had no idea why they finally protested. Yeah, he sucked. And he left behind his massive Great Dane, Apollo. Who now has no home. He had volunteered our narrator to take the dog in, never mind that her building doesn’t allow pets and she could be evicted (such a good guy). But she takes Apollo in anyway and they start to learn to live together and live with their losses.
I guess I changed my mind on the book when it because less about the asshole dead friend and more about the giant dog.
Oh, PSA for animal-lovers: this dog doesn’t die in the book, but there is a lot of discussion of pet death and putting animals to sleep. I had to walk away from the book a couple of times. I know my cat isn’t immortal, but they didn’t have to remind me.
Also my cat better be immortal.