Cover Image: Dog Days

Dog Days

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Member Reviews

Dog Days is a wonderful novel jam packed with interesting characters and wonderful dogs. Luke and Dan are cousins and best friends who enjoy training together for an iron man competition. But when Atticus walks into Dan’s counselling room, he forces Dan to face his own fears.  
George is heartbroken after the death of his wife, but his wife’s dog Poppy refuses to allow him to wallow in misery. 
Lizzie and her son Lenny are living in a shelter for women surviving domestic abuse, but is everything as it seems?
This book looks at how we can overcome desperate situations with some help from our friends, many of which are the four legged variety.
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Oh, what joy! What a deliciously warm, endearing hug of a book. Dog Days is character-driven fiction at its absolute best — an intimate study of three gloriously human individuals and their private, inner struggle to adapt to change. 

There’s newly widowed George, bewildered, stubborn and cantankerous. He needs his wife, Ellen “like a snail needs its shell”, but she’s gone, leaving him exposed in a way that makes him both angry and scared.

There’s counsellor Dan, an ironic tangle of insecurities and OCD, falling in love for the first time.  His lover makes him feel like “walking into a room with an open fire after missing the bus and walking home in a storm.” But it means owning up to his sexuality. 

And then there’s Lizzie, newly arrived in a women’s refuge with seven year-old Lenny. Brilliant, damaged Lizzie, and the locked away parts of herself that she cannot share. Lizzie, “always outside the circle looking in,” because when others want comfort, all she has to offer are facts and statistics. 

To say that I was invested in each and every one of their stories is an understatement. I lived and breathed them every step of the way, sharing their triumphs and tragedies, their hopes and disappointments, the full, heart-wrenching gamut of their emotions. 

And the dogs! Well, what can I say?  Fitz, Wolfie and Poppy, with their unconditional, uncomplicated devotion, were characters in their own right and played their role as enablers to perfection.  

But what made this novel truly sing for me was Ericka Waller’s prose. It is like a balm; a gentle, warm unguent of words. The imagery, the metaphor, the evocation — all of it is sublime. As is her understanding of the human psyche, in all its nurture and imperfections. 

This is a novel that you need to savor word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page. And when it ends, you’ll feel briefly bereft before reveling in the magic that it was.

My thanks to Random House UK via NetGalley for the digital ARC of this title.
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This was a fab read, I really enjoyed it a lot and feel like it brought up a lot of important issues within the book. 

This take on mental health was important, it also reminds us that it is important to check up on people we know. 

Thank you for this ARC!
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Follow the story of George, Dan and Lizzie

The story takes you on a journey of these three individuals but in the most natural of ways on how their world come together along while they walk  their dogs
It's not a light hearted read though and can be quite dark in parts. Full of emotion and although it made me laugh it also made me cry.
Thanks to#NetGalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review
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Set in Brighton, this is a story about a series of people who all walk their dog at the same place. There is George, who has lost his wife and just wants to wallow in his grief. He is visited by Betty who takes it upon herself to check up on him. He didn't even want his dog but it was his wife's so he puts up with her.
Dan, a councillor, tries to help Atticus but it leads to him coming to terms with secrets in his own life.
Then there's Dan's cousin Luke, a teacher who meets one of his pupil's mum, Lizzie. Lizzie is hiding something, but what can it be?
The characters were all interesting and believable and I cared about them. The narrative is a bit rough round the edges but still an enjoyable read.
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Being a dog lover I couldn't pass this one by. However although there are dogs they are not the main focus of the story. George is a selfish grumpy old man. His beloved wife Ellen has dies. She had bought a puppy which he has no time for. He is angry at the world. Ellen, who obviously adored him, had thought out what her death would mean. She has left letters scattered throughout the house to try & help him cope. Dan is a therapist- although he wonders how he got there! He suffers from OCD, is scared to admit he is gay & relies on his faithful dog for companionship. Lizzie is staying in a women's shelter with her son Lenny. Her arms are covered in scars, she is a mine of facts & figures & walking the shelter dog while Lenny is in school. 

These characters are all interesting, often annoying but make you want to know what happens next. There are  surprises & some really tear jerking moments.  Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book. I loved it.
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I greatly enjoyed this book but it was not as light as I thought it would be.. It covers a multitude of subjects in a very gentle way. It has been drafted in such a way that each character has a backstory which eventually  comes to the forefront. It is full of canine interventions but is quite dark in places. I would heartily  recommend this book
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This book had me in so many different emotional states from the empathy for George on his feelings and that way he sees fit to deal with the death of his wife and the puppy that she left for him, to the joy and tears for Dan as he learns to believe in himself and the wonders of the World. 

I loved the way this book has been written, it had me gripped from the beginning. I felt like I was going on the journey myself with the characters. 

The story takes you on a journey of these three individuals but in the most natural of ways on how their world come together.

One particular part of the story I loved was Lizzie's the author takes you on a journey that you quickly realise that what you thought Lizzie was about is not the case.

The author is not afraid of raising difficult topics in this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and felt privileged to be invited into George, Dan and Lizzie's lives.
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This book is funny, its full of emotions it really make you look at kind acts and how they affect life and our feelings. 
Loved the characters loved the doggies more.
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I was under the impression I knew what kind of book I was getting into with Dog Days. While it was hard to warm to the characters, I assumed that was the point. The book took a turn I wasn’t expecting, however, and it left me unsettled.

Lizzie is living in a shelter with her son. It was hard to connect to her; her emotions and actions didn’t align, and you try to give her the benefit of the doubt, but those suspicions aren’t misplaced.

I felt for George, but he’s so difficult to like. He’s rude, obnoxious and goes out of his way to be cruel to people. He mellows, but his attitude annoyed me before long.

Dan is a definite favourite. Dealing with OCD and coming out, Dan’s world is shaken up, but you can empathise with his problems. He’s likeable, and wants to grow.

Most of the plot is watching these characters collide, and the way they influence each other’s lives. The lack of development in their behaviour and attitude made the pace feel slow at times, and I wasn’t sure where it was going.

I would never have guessed, though. For expecting a charming book, Dog Days takes a dark turn. It’s a shocking twist of events, but also left me feeling… cheated? There’s growth by the end, but no resolution. I guess that’s the point, but it threw me off.

The dark themes felt sudden and abrupt. It made them powerful, but needed some warning. It jolted me from the story and the unexpected direction left me feeling out of sorts.

I can’t deny the writing is strong throughout Dog Days. There’s change in the characters and their relationships, even if not always in a positive direction. You find yourself intrigued by what is going to come next, and whether the characters will get their happy ending.

Perhaps it’s the time I’m reading this – in a pandemic, you want a book full of feel-good feelings. There’s hope here, but only if you stay until the end.

I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re after something to lift your spirits. It’s an interesting premise, with hard-to-like characters and a dark plot. It could work effectively, but only if you’re expecting it.

Taken off guard and left unsettled, this wasn’t the right one for me at this time.
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⭐⭐ 

This book tells the story of Lizzie, George and Dan. All of have heartache in their life. Lizzie has fled an abusive relationship to stay in a womens hostel with her son. George's wife has passed away leaving him bereft and lost in a world that doesn't understand him. And Dan has OCD and is unsure of his future. They all have a dog in their life, and sometimes it takes a dog to remind you you're human. 

Trigger warning: self harm, suicide and abuse 

I had really high hope's for this book, the ending did somewhat raise my judgement on the book but unfortunately this one wasn't for me. The book is character driven, without much going on in the story line. For me personally, I just wasn't intrigued to know more. If you love slow burn, character driven books, with a slow self actualisation, then this book will be a winner for you.
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Loved the premise of this book; 3 main characters with their own baggage, struggling to cope with the trauma in their lives and how their dogs help them learn to live with this trauma. This book is heavy, so so heavy in the topics it covers, and the way each character’s arc comes to a conclusion is like a sucker punch of emotions - it had me crying. Be warned: this is not an easy read (see trigger warning later on). 

What I liked about the character arcs was that they aren’t perfect people whose life happens to come across a trauma, they’re flawed, some more deeply, so much so that they’re hard to like or relate to. But as Waller develops their arcs, you see they’re multi layered and more human.  

⚠️ Trigger warning and potential spoilers ⚠️ Includes references to domestic abuse, bereavement, self harm, suicide, stillbirth and mental health - those affected beware.
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A book of huge emotion and lots of dogs!
Set in a local area very near to me, I was drawn into the lives of three very different people.
There is George, very recently widowed, and at 79 (I think!) he has to be the grumpiest, rudest, most difficult man alive and yet you can't help but love him and want something much better for the old devil.
Then there is Lizzie, living in a women's refuge with son Lenny. She is very clever but very troubled and she doesn't want to speak to the police.
And finally there is Dan, a counsellor who is running scared from who he is.
In meeting these three characters we are introduced to others. Batty Betty who tries so hard to befriend George. Luke, a primary school teacher, cousin of Dan and who has Lenny in his class. And there is Atticus, a client who comes to Dan's counselling room.
There is Wolfie and Fitz, Poppy and Lucky and Maud too, but these are the canine characters who help the story along and bring characters together.
The connections between the humans are sometimes obvious and at other times more subtle, but as well as living in the same geographical area, these characters need each other. They are an eclectic bunch but have fascinating stories to tell and I adored the way the novel was put together to encompass heartbreak and joy, endings and beginnings, in the real life mess that doesn't guarantee soppy endings, but amongst the tears offers hope too.
It isn't always easy to read. Not in a misery memoir kind of way, but the fact there are not neatly parcelled up solutions delivered in a timely fashion with destination Happiness on all the postmarks. The characters are flawed but through their frailties we are given a wealth of insight into human behaviour and emotion and left feeling thankful for all we have. Friendship, kindness, love and forgiveness can help us to heal, and in George's case, some tear jerking letters written in advance add a beautiful intimacy to his particular journey of self discovery.
I do think a box of tissues might be useful to have to hand too. You will laugh, I did plenty of times, but you might cry too, I did!
Huge thanks as always for the generosity of author, publisher, Pigeonhole and Netgalley for allowing me the privilege of reading ahead of publication.
In my opinion Dog Days is a MUST read that will be a LOVED read.
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This book was a pleasant surprise, so much more than the lighthearted read I expected.

Dog Days focuses on George, Dan and Lizzie.  All three are going through difficult times in their lives, which all feature dogs.  The three characters are complex and not necessarily likeable people.  

This book challenges preconceptions and shines a light on some of the darker, more troubling sides to life, however, does this in an engaging way where, whilst you may not like the characters, you do feel empathy for them.

There is no happy ever after ending, but this is a more realistic look on how people cope with depression, violence, grief and exclusion and the importance that friends (and dogs) have on surviving the tougher, dog days.
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I read this in a couple of sittings, and the bit in between when I wasn't reading it I was really looking forward to reading it. It was an easy read in the sense that it flows nicely and you really want to keep turning the pages but the subject matter was a little darker than I had expected from the description, handled beautiful though. I loved the characters, both human and canine, and as their stories unfolded and things came to light it was hard not to become attached to them. I finished the book feeling joy tinged with sadness and very glad that I had read it. This is one of those that stories that uplifts you whilst also leaving you thoughtful. Highly recommended.
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'Dog Days' is a lovely book about the power of dogs and people to overcome their difficulties, almost in spite of themselves. It follows three damaged people, each dealing with life's challenges. who just happen to have dogs.

I particularly liked George, old, widowed and cantankerous, whose late wife insisted on getting a dog against George's wishes. George is a bit like Ove from Fredrick Backman's 'A Man Called Ove' but with much more of a potty mouth. I mention his sweary tendencies not because they bother me in the slightest, but because many people in search of a heart-warming, life-affirming novel seem to get worked up about such things. If you don't like swearing, stay away (and know that you'll have missed out, big style).

Dan is a therapist who can't bring himself to tell anybody that he's gay or to get out there and actually be 'actively' gay. And Lizzie is living in a shelter for battered and abused women with her son.

All the characters are interesting. All their side-kick characters are super too. George's interfering friend Betty is adorable. And of course, the dogs are wonderful too. The writing style is a touch atypical for this genre and feels more considered and thought through, perhaps more 'literary' than the norm. I can imagine the author took her time over writing this, polishing the odd sentence, finding a few more good analogies and turns of phrase, and I think it was time well-spent.

It's a delightful book and highly recommended.
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This is a delightful book- exploring humanity in various guises. Each of the three stories is a complete story on its own, and I was absorbed in each one as their turn came and went. For all it was different stories, this was a smooth, blended read that felt natural. The links were the dogs and the Beacon where they all went walking, but there were links between each of the stories. Strong characterisation. I felt for Dan, not being able to see what Atticus was trying to tell him, and although I'd guessed some of Lizzie's story, it was no less heartbreaking.George and Betty added some humour amidst their sadness, and I could visualise them clearly, sparring with each other. In fact, the story was visual, I could picture all the characters through their stories emerging, not by longwinded description but by being brought to life. And through each story, the role the dogs played in the lives- equally strong characters. #netgalley #dogdays
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Dog Days is such a beautiful, thought evoking read that I absolutely adored!.

In this book, we meet an array of unique, intriguing characters, the first of which being George. Poor George is in a rather dark place in his life following the death of his beloved wife. He can’t shake off the overwhelming anger he feels about the unfairness of the situation, and his little desire to curb his moody ways, and instead opts to stay at home venting his anger at the television.

Next we meet Dan, who is such a warm, loving character that you feel a fondness for instantly. Dan has OCD, and in his line of work as a counsellor, he is often putting everyone else before himself. He also owns a beautiful labrador named Fitz, who has been his closest confident for quite some time.

And then,;last but certainly not least, there is Lizzie. She is a woman who has had a really tough, often unthinkable experience and finds herself living in a women’s refuge along with her son Lenny. Her body has many scars to show the awful life she has escaped from, but the mental scars will be with her forever. When Lizzie is asked to walk the refuges terrier Maud, she cannot possibly begin to imagine the many ways in which this will change her life.

This book had me captivated from the very beginning. The author has such a wonderfully refreshing writing style that makes the reader fully immersed in the world in which they have created. The characters are all so wonderfully portrayed, and each of them possesses their own personalities and life stories to share as this book progresses. I certainly found myself going through a range of emotions throughout this book, and I can truly say it is a story that will stay with me for quite some time.

Beautifully written, heart warming and completely and utterly captivating to the end, I adored this book and would certainly recommend it to everyone!.
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I enjoyed this book it filled a need.  I was looking for something light and fluffy - a romance with a bit of bite to suit my mood.  It is a book which starts this way but becomes much darker.

It has a number of issues in it.  These are related to different characters and the book is told by three of the characters.  Each of these characters has a link with the others but these only slowly develop.  The characters are well drawn each hiding something and then eventually coming clean.  The ‘baring of their souls’ is painful for all the characters.  Lizzie is the only character I had any idea about what was going to happen.  

The book underlines the importance of finding help from friends and professionals and friendships are very important.

There are a number of dogs in the book.  For some people they will be much bigger characters than I give them credit for.  As a non pet owner ever I have often not understood or misunderstood the pull pets have on their owners.  So for me the dogs did not influence my enjoyment of the book.  For others this will not be true.  What had more influence on me was the setting of Brighton, Rottingdean and the Beacon.  I could see this drama happening in this landscape which was so well described.
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Dog Days was full of characters who were all dealing with something. It starts off as a feel good, lightly humorous novel but is interspersed with feelings of heaviness and sadness as it sensitively explores mental health and other themes.

Although the dogs don’t play leading roles, they provide spirit, friendship and a reason which is something so many of us with furry pals can relate to. They are loyal companions to: 
George, a grumpy fart, who’s not coping with the death of his wife 
Lizzie, a highly intelligent ex-teacher, who is running away from something 
Dan, a gentle therapist, who has tried to hide himself and his desires for as long as possible 

Aside from their furry friends, our main protagonists are also accompanied by side characters who add so much richness and individuality to the three plot lines and as I sit here writing this, I actually find myself missing some of them. That’s never happened before. What’s happening to me?

Ericka Waller has created a heart warming, sensitive novel that will make you chuckle but will also tug at your heart strings. 

Thank you @netgalley, @erickawaller & @randomhouse for providing me with this arc.
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