Cover Image: Dog Days

Dog Days

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Dog Days is a moving, emotive novel describing the ups and downs of the lives of a group of people who happen to walk their dogs in a popular area, they are not really friends but through their dogs, they have become “reluctant” acquaintances.  In this novel the author reels the reader in by creating absorbing and thought-provoking accounts of each of these 3 doggy individuals and their everyday/extraordinary lives.  Although this is not my “usual” genre, I really enjoyed the way this author wrote with compassion and empathy.
Was this review helpful?
Dog Days by Ericka Waller

George's wife has died leaving him a Dachshund puppy Poppy to take care of, but he is angry and has no interest in anything, least of all his interfering neighbour Betty.  Dan is a counsellor and his best friend is his labrador Fitz, but he's never had a romantic relationship until Atticus comes into his life.  Lizzie lives in a women's refuge with her son Lenny and although she finds it difficult to connect with the other women, Maud the Jack Russell Terrier becomes an unexpected ally.  

I absolutely loved this book and found it a real page turner - I read it in a day!  The characters were extremely well written and the issues faced by all of them were very sensitively dealt with - bereavement, grief, trauma, mental health and many others.  Some very serious subjects and events were dealt with and broken up with scenes involving George - he was so specatacularly rude and outspoken, often with hilarious results (the cheese panini scene made me shake with laughter!). Very highly recommended!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.
Was this review helpful?
This was not the lighthearted read I was expecting, it was far deeper than that. It was less about the dogs and more about the issues that affected their owners. That said, the book drew me in and made me want to find out what was happening with the three main characters. I particularly liked that the chapters alternated between them, telling it from their point of view and moving onto the next character before you tired of their angst.
I enjoyed this book but be warned that it covers a variety of issues that are relatable but could be hard for those in similar circumstances. This is not a feel good book but more of a thought provoking read, giving a little insight into the minds of others. However it is not a heavy read.
So be aware that the person walking their dog in the park or sitting next to you on the bus may be going through issues that you have no notion off. Above all don't judge a book by its cover - or title!
Was this review helpful?
"Dog Days: Ericka Waller's Dog Days is a debut novel about the way dogs can bring out the best in us in the face of life's challenges."

I feel that the title and blurb is a bit misleading. I expected defining moments where loyalty and the love of dogs uplift characters while dealing with various issues. At best the dogs in the story are no more than supporting actors with the odd mention. 

What we got was a dark and bleak story, with characters who give in to their negative traits fairly often and who are truly difficult to like. The writing is excellent, with a thoughtful and insightful look at difficult subjects such as suicide, depression, OCD, autism, domestic violence, grief and homophobia.

I just wish that the author had involved the dogs in the story more to bring some lighthearted and heartfelt moments. The ending is hopeful but it was too little, too late.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this book was so good. Loved the writing and it was for me a page Turner as I needed to know the characters story. It follows 3 characters who are all going through something different, grief, mental health, trauma, love, loss and finding friendships with all the help from dogs too. The dogs in the book were written really well as dogs really do help with everyday things and feelings, dogs know when something is up with there human, my dogs are the same! There was unexpected twists at the end that was shocking and sad and I think the author did very well at writing those scenes and I felt all the emotions. I also loved that it was based in Brighton as I live very close to Brighton so it was nice for it to be featured in a great book. I will definitely be recommending this book to all my bookish friends, and I can’t wait to read more of this Authors work. Thank you
Was this review helpful?
I've always believed that dogs have a way of bringing people from all walks of life together, and this book is a prime example of it.  Maud, a strong willed Jack Russell; Fitz, a totally adorable Labrador, Lucky, a long suffering, itchy jumper wearing greyhound; Poppy a super sweet but very much unwanted Dachshund puppy and Wolfie, a shaggy Wolfhound are five very different dogs, with five very different owners.  The characters in this book are wonderful, particularly George, who's wife has died, leaving him with Poppy and the attentions of Betty, both equally unwanted by George and boy, doesn't he make his feelings known!  His language!  Hilarious.  The book sounds light hearted, but it is actually quite serious.  Death, grief, depression, domestic abuse, mental health and suicide are all covered in detail as we get to know all of the characters, so be careful if any of these subjects are triggers for you!  The illustrations of the dogs are lovely.  I really enjoyed it.

My review is on Goodreads and will be posted to Amazon on publication day.
Was this review helpful?
I chose this book based on me being a dog lover and long term dog owner.  The cover led me to believe that I was going to be reading a light easy read with dogs central to the story.  It wasn’t like that at all!  It’s a dark tale of three loosely connected stories, with the main characters in each story having a dog.  Some of the characters, Dan the therapist, for example, I found very unlikeable, although he had a nice dog.  Lizzie lives in a shelter for abused women with her son and Maud the Jack Russell.  Their story was well presented and had an interesting and unexpected twist.  The character I liked most was George, whose wife had bought a dachshund puppy shortly before she died of cancer.  George is numb with grief and struggles to cope without his wife, whose foresight in planning how he would manage his grief is astounding and heart-warming.  
I would have liked to have seen more dog involvement.  As it was, they were very minor characters and I think a lot more could have been made of how much comfort and support dogs provide when their humans are struggling with life.  As I said, I found Dan’s tale uninteresting but the other tales were engrossing and I definitely engaged with the characters and wanted to know what happened.  I thought the author’s portrayal of George was excellent.  Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would choose to read more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
Not at all what I expected... I thought this book is going to be a very light read, how wrong was I... 

It ended up breaking my heart and putting it back together... Almost. I’m smiling through the tears. I’ll definitely going to need some time to digest all this. 

100% one of the best books I’ve read this year. Each and every character is going stay with me. I’m going to miss George, the old grumpy tart, the most! 

Favourite quote:

‘Dogs love unconditionally, not because they don’t understand life, but because they understand it the best’
Was this review helpful?
Dog Days tells the stories of individual members of a community and how their lives have been affected by a traumatic event. For each person, a dog features in their recovery after their lives have been changed forever.
Each character is brought to life brilliantly by Ericka Waller's fantastic writing. From foul-mouthed George to broken Lizzie to the exuberant Betty. 
Dogs really do help hearts to heal.
Was this review helpful?
This is a very interesting corollary between the life of a set of humans and the dogs that identify with them through ownership or interaction. It will naturally appeal to dog lovers but the characterisations, ability of the author and the enjoyment of the plot to connect them to each other also make this fictional work appealing to sceptics like me. 
The diverse set of main characters each have a story to be told. Emotions are deeply involved as grief is an underlying component common to the stories. An analysis of human behaviour is revealed as the entanglement of the lives is unravelled. There are twists and surprises to keep the reader glued to the pages. Consolation of canine companionship can replace human need for love in daily lives and routines. Recommended.
Was this review helpful?
This has probably been my most difficult book to review thus far. I soooooooo wanted to love it,  but after much consideration, I guess I can just say that overall I quite enjoyed it.
It’s a story that is based around three central characters that are all connected in some way but do not know each other directly. They all have their own (very sensitive) issues that they’re working through and for the most part are not very likeable if I’m honest BUT what they do have are  some beautiful canine friends, which for me was the initial appeal of the book and for the short amount of time they were featured, those furry friends stole the show for me. 
This book covers lots of sensitive issues including loss, anxiety, depression, domestic abuse amongst other things so I found myself experiencing every emotion as I read....anger, sorrow, frustration, joy, happiness, confusion.....all the same emotions I imagine the main characters felt themselves. 
As a dog lover though, I so enjoyed how the author portrayed that each dog has their own personality and how dogs in general can be such a comfort in both times of turmoil AND happiness. 
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and of course the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Dog Days by Ericka Waller covers important issues including death, abuse, sexuality, loss and grief. It is also about compassion, seeing others, and learning to heal.

When I started this novel wasn’t what I expected. I even almost DNFed it, but I kept going and I’m glad I did. The story took extra time to set up because it covers the paths of three characters that don’t always intersect. As a result I had difficulty initially connecting with them, but this suddenly changed.

By the middle of the book:

•	I started to see George as more than a thoroughly unpleasant man consumed with his anger, blaming everything on everyone except himself. 

•	Dan became someone I really like. At first he seemed to have so many of his own struggles I had a hard time understanding how he could counsel anyone else. Instead, his flawed humanity ended up enchanting me. 

•	Lizzie stopped frustrating me. She lives in a women’s refuge and has an entirely unhealthy infatuation with her son who lives with her. She has secrets she won’t share and this alienates her from everyone else at the refuge. Only when these secrets start to come out does everything begin to make sense. 

Although their situations differ, each character will suffer raw regret from horrible mistakes they’ve made. They also each have a dog in their life. George doesn’t want his and is angry he has been saddled with her. Dan adores his furry best friend. Lizzie starts out using the resident dog as a means of escape. If you are lucky enough to have had a dog in your life you will already realise they have a rather magical way of comforting and healing.

Releasing 11th March 2021, Dog Days is worth adding to your TBR. I’m left contemplating humanity and forgiveness. Most of us do the best we can when, really, we are all flawed and the majority of us have regrets for the mistakes we’ve made.

Considering the rough start, but brilliant end, my rating is as follows:

3.5/5 🌟

My sincerest thanks to Netgalley, Random House UK (Transworld Publishers, Doubleday) and Ericka Waller for the opportunity to read Dog Days in exchange for an impartial review. All opinions stated above are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Three strangers with sad lives discover the comfort that a dog can bring into their lives. Fighting it is not an option, they must accept what fate has in store for them. An emotional novel that restores your faith in the fact that life can get better if you let a dog into your life. Thoroughly charming.
Was this review helpful?
What an interesting and easy to read book, which brought a few tears to my eyes. 
I stated this book with little idea of where it would be taking me.It took me a while to get grips with all the names, people and dogs mixed up together. However it wasn’t long before I was enamoured with the characters with all their quirks and traits, making them all into real people and dogs. The potty- mouthed blustery George, angry at the world & his little puppy Poppy; Lizzie, the mysterious mother hiding secrets, reluctantly walking  Maud; Dan, the OCD counsellor and his companion/ dog Fitz. The dogs show their endearing qualities and personalities as the story develops. 
This is a slow-burn, as the back-stories gradually reveal what has made these people who they are, alongside the present story taking each character towards consequences, actions and resolutions. The blurb says it all -  the life-changing moments when we pause! 
An engaging book and a delight to read.
Was this review helpful?
This so much more than a story about dogs (although obviously that’s the best bit). It’s a story about love, loss and everything inbetween. It showed dogs will be there for you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. 

I loved how the chapters were short and each one represented either Lizzie, George or Dan’s POV. Each character brought something different to the story and I liked how they were all subtly linked. Some parts made me laugh and others made me extremely sad and Erika really made the story come alive for me. 

I have to say George and Betty were my absolute favourite. Betty gave me major Eileen from the switch vibes with her funny sayings and positive attitude whereas George was grumpy and at times mean. I really enjoyed watching their friendship grow and George’s character develop.

I definitely didn’t predict the ending and i felt Erika really showed we never know what’s really going on with someone under the surface.
Was this review helpful?
This is a very hard review to write, the book deals with so many topics as many Uplit books do, but I am also trying not to include any spoilers.
We follow 3 characters in alternating chapters, George's wife has just passed away and he is dealing with grief, but not very well He is angry at everyone including the new puppy she bought just before she died. Dan, the therapist with his own issues, OCD and also sexuality, he meets a patient and things start to look up, although the ethics of this are a little murky. Lizzie, who is currently residing in a womens refuge with her son, having left home, this being the hardest strand to read as you can imagine.
Each of the characters is imagined so well, the writing is brilliant and the doggies are obviously a very big tick from me. The Lizzie storyline felt slightly out of place for me and this is where the genre of the books sways towards something other than uplit. I loved the George storyline, I would, being a lover of pensioners in books, but my gosh does he have a potty mouth, c-bomb and all, just as a word of warning. Dan was loveable in his own way and I enjoyed reading his experiences.
There is plenty to love in this book, but I do not think this will be for everyone, massive trigger warnings for grief, self harm, suicide, homophobia, domestic violence and possibly more.
Was this review helpful?
Despite initially thinking I wouldn't get into this book, I did and thought it was such a fabulous read. Ericka Waller gives such great characterisation of her three main characters, all of them going through their own issues and trauma. George has lost his wfe Ellen to cancer, Dan is struggling to accept his sexuality and falling in love, and Lizzie is facing her own demons in the womens' refuge. Linking them all together are canine characters and at various points in the book all their lives interconnect. Each character's story doesn't turn out how you expect it to and it is richer for this. It is a very emotive book which draws you into the lives of these characters but it is also funny at times. I'm sure there are scenarios here which we will all recognise and can empathise with. Yes, it is sad in places but it is also such a lovely read, I absolutely loved it. Thank you NetGalley for pemitting me to review it.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book featuring 3 main characters; Dan, Lizzie and George. It told of their difficult relationships, how they over lapped and resolutions to their problems. It was honest, open and so very plausible- a very good read.
Was this review helpful?
Dogs Days is the story of three different people living three different lives…Grumpy old George is struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife Ellen who has left him handy notes around the house and a new puppy as well…Counsellor Dan who lives OCD, is afraid to face up to his own feelings and sexuality, and Lizzie who is seeking solace in a woman’s refuge with her son Lenny.

All three strangers have one thing in common…dogs - whether they own them, or the dogs are there at their side to provide comfort or just company. 

Sadly, I didn’t connect with this book and I felt it was for several reasons. Firstly, the main thing that annoyed me was the name of one of the characters was Atticus Finch, the same name as one of the characters from To Kill A Mocking Bird. I was convinced that there must be a reason why the author chose this name as it is an unusual name and also one that has been used in such an iconic book. I was waiting all the way for the reveal as to what this character had in common with his namesake, but it didn’t come.

Also, and another major bug bear for me, was that there were two unprofessional liaisons which I didn’t feel would happen – that between a teacher and a parent of a child in their class and also a counsellor and his patient. Perhaps one of those in the story would be believable, but two…!

Saying all this, it was a book written with real emotion and there were parts in the story where I really felt for the characters especially George who although a grumpy old git was my favourite by far.

I would suggest that you don’t read this book if you are feeling emotionally low, as one character struggles with their mental health and all the challenges that it brings on a day to day basis which is often a difficult read.
Was this review helpful?
The story centres around three characters, all linked by the fact that they walk dogs in the same park, and they are all troubled and lost individuals. Elderly George is recently widowed, and finds life unbearable without the wife who did everything for him. Lizzie has run away from her husband with her young son and is hiding out in a women’s shelter, but struggles to relate to the others or to talk about her past. Dan is a confused gay man with OCD, firmly in the closet and afraid to test out his sexuality. The expectation is that this would then conform to the currently popular feel good/ redemption lit genre, but to dismiss it as such would be to do it a disservice. There is very real pain here of the kind that can’t be erased by meeting the right person, or bonding with a pet, or finding a new job. The characters seemed very real and flawed, but understandable, facing bereavement, depression, domestic violence and mental illness and struggling to find some light. There are no glib happy endings, but there is certainly hope, and connecting with others helps to pave the way. Healing is possible, but the deepest scars remain- a message all the more powerful for its honesty.
Was this review helpful?