Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cannonball Read - Book 41

I've been reading a lot, right? And I've been reading quite a few things that people have heard of - not every selection, but a lot of them. I look over the list so far and I see things that I'd heard about a long time ago and hadn't gotten around to reading, or things that someone else recommended to me that I thought I should take a look at.

But every now and then, I read a book that even I haven't heard of - and Walking in Circles Before Lying Down is one of those books. I found this on the shelf at my boss' house when we were having an off-site meeting, and the description on the back of the book made it seem like something I'd like:

"Dawn Tarnauer's life isn't exactly a success story. Already twice divorced, the young Californian is too busy job-hopping to start a career, her Life Coach sister provides perpetual interference, and her eccentric parents need parenting. Dawn's only source of comfort, it seems, is Chuck, a pit-bull mix from the pound. So when her boyfriend announces that he's leaving her for another woman, a despairing Dawn turns to Chuck for solace.
"'I should have said something sooner,' she hears Chuck say, consoling her. 'Couldn't you smell her on his pants?'
"Dawn is stunned. Suddenly she can hear not just Chuck talking, but all dogs - and man's best friend has a lot to say. Doubtful of her own sanity, Dawn nevertheless considers that in the ways of life and love, it might be better to trust Chuck's doggie instincts instead of her own." Talking dogs and parents that need parenting? Sign me up!

Unfortunately, WICBLD didn't live up to my expectations. I've determined that talking dogs are tricky things. You don't want to make them sound too stupid, because there's definitely something going on in there, but you can't make them sound too smart, either. When I put words in my dog's mouth, he sounds like a precocious, foul-mouthed toddler. Wash says things like "Put me down," "I'm hungry," and "NO!," but he also says "Fuck off, that's my bone." He speaks in complete sentences, but I wouldn't say they're complex sentences. Chuck, the doggie hero of WICBLD, is WAY too loquacious. Here's a portion of one of Chuck's lengthier passages, after he's returned from being missing for a few days:

"I figured I'd be safe as long as I followed my instincts. But the problem with instincts is they only really work in the absence of opportunity."

OK. If Wash ran off, the words in his head would be "Smells! News smells! I smell poop! There's some trash! Uhhh... where's Mom? Where the fuck am I?" None of this "absence of opportunity" business.

Long story short: you wanna see a good talking dog? Watch Up. WICBLD had a great concept, but tried too hard and ended up falling short.

Walking in Circles Before Lying Down - C

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