Cover Image: Dog Days

Dog Days

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The cover and the blurb of this book hold so many exciting opportunities. Sadly, those opportunities don’t come to fruition. I was disappointed with this offering from Waller. I get what she was trying to do, but don’t think she achieved it. I felt cheated by the end.

Dog Days follows the stories of three different people, George a ‘grumpy’ old man, Dan a therapist and Lizzie who lives in a shelter for women who have escaped domestic abuse. The novel supposedly focuses on how dogs can teach us what it means to be human, and how to deal with love and loss. We start by focusing on the characters all in the same place, seemingly making it seem that by the end of the novel we will find out how they all know one another.

Although it is well written, I felt the characters were two dimensional and in the case of George, very stereotypical. The only characters of some interest are Lizzie and Atticus. Lizzie’s story grabs you about 70% of the way through the book, and Atticus is unfortunately a minor character.

I enjoyed the last 30% of the book, but oh my goodness it was a slog to get there! Reading it felt like walking the longest road, and never quite reaching the end. Please don’t pick up this book thinking you are going to be delving into the relationship between canines and their humans. The title and the blurb give that impression, but the dogs are definitely secondary characters.

‘Dog Days’ is a funny play on words, but I feel misleading to the reader.
Was this review helpful?
I was very surprised! Not the book I was expecting but that's not a bad thing either! Came for the dogs, stayed for the story!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Doubleday for giving me the e-arc of Dog Days by Erica Waller in exchange for my honest & unbiased review. 

Dog Days definitely is not the fluffy, easy read that I was expecting. It’s so much more than this and I have to say that I’m very grateful for that. However, some nay find that there are triggers they weren’t expecting. Dog Days touches on and in places examines bereavement, loss, mental health, abuse, suicide and more. 

From George, the abrasive, angry and irascible widower, recently bereaved following the death of his wife Ellen and his developing relationship with Poppy the darling daschund; To Dan the counsellor with his many life coping techniques and struggles to not feel ‘less’ in the world around him and his reliable retriever Fritz, and Lizzie struggling to find her way as she restarts her life in a shelter and Maud who in her own 4 legged way steers Lizzie towards a path. This book tells their stories from their PoVs, never shirking from any of the bumps or twists and turns of their individual journeys, and of course the roles each of their 4 legged friends play in these. 

Don’t expect hearts and flowers, but do expect a few giggles, a few shocks and surprises and a well written, heartfelt story, and if you’re like me N urge to take your dogs walking in the Beacon,
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book. Will be recommending this book to everyone & will definitely be reading more books by this author.
Was this review helpful?
Three people struggling to come to terms with the issues in their lives. The story covers some very emotional issues,- coming to terms with being gay, domestic abuse and bereavement. In the main they are dealt with very well. It’s very easy to become emotionally invested in two of the characters, the third however, has does not feel true and to some extents presents as a comedy. This marred the book somewhat for me. 
The involvement of the dogs is a useful way  for the characters to meet but other than that they are superfluous to the story.
Overall a good read with some interesting twists.
Was this review helpful?
I read DOG DAYS for the #Uplitathon weekend and it was a perfect choice if I do say so myself. 😂 I was an emotional wreck when I finished! There was so much to enjoy.  I loved the characters. It’s told from the perspectives of three characters, cantankerous George, shy Dan and fact-lover “Lizzie and each narrative is full of life, love and hope. I kept switching between which perspective I preferred. They all felt connected and I just enjoyed it so much. I especially loved the dogs. I feel I’m missing out on this whole dog world...ahh I need to stop reading books about dogs because at this rate, I will be getting one and I already have my hands full with children. 😂 The pups really are the stars of the show here as their loyalty and affection shines through. 🐶 These are many turns and twists which I didn’t see coming. Parts were so emotional and poignant. 😭 A perfect blend of funny banter and cry your eyes out moments. Life is messy and complicated, yet it’s also full of love and friendship. We can’t control everything and sometimes we just have to stop, and enjoy the journey. I think I’ve stopped crying now. 😭😂 
Highly recommend the glorious and incredibly moving DOG DAYS. A charming debut.
Was this review helpful?
I found Dog Days a very enjoyable read. It wasn't the lighthearted story I was expecting, instead it tackled difficult topics such as loss and grief. The characters were well written but not particularly likeable and their stories were all interesting. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This book was superb. I literally couldn't put it down. Peppered with strong, well drawn characters and a mix of drama and laughter I loved every minute of it. All the characters are flawed in some way and struggling to come to terms with their various issues and problems accompanied by their faithful doggy friends who are there for them through thick and thin. I am really glad I chose this book and I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
A very clever book woven around three characters all ready for a life change. Loveable characters brought to life on the page. Compelling read.
Was this review helpful?
In Dog Days meet George, Lizzie and Dan and a variety of canine counterparts as together they face some of life’s uphill battles. George has just lost his wife to pancreatic cancer and is incredibly angry. Dan is struggling with both his OCD and with the idea of becoming the man he wishes to be whilst Lizzie is scarred from the inside out hiding away from life with son Lenny in a women’s shelter. All three need saving from themselves in a storyline in which guardian angels come in both the human and canine variety. This delightful, funny, poignant and hopeful novel shows how a little helping of resilience, kindness and doggy love can  go a long way to alleviating life’s woes. The likes of Maud, an overweight Jack Russell, Fitz a most loyal and loving Labrador and Poppy, a playful dachshund puppy, amongst others will work their magic on us as the reader as well as this unhappy trio. 

Take a virtual walk along this section of the Sussex coastline following in the footsteps of these three characters all wrestling with their own emotional baggage. There’s far more to these people than meets the eye in this novel that has an emotional depth to it I wasn’t expecting. Dan isn’t simply a man with OCD tendencies, Lizzie isn’t simply an autistic woman who will blind you will scientific facts at every opportunity and neither is George solely defined by his grief at the sudden death of his wife Ellen. The author unpacks each person’s individual quirks, foibles and imperfections that make them unique and lays their souls bare, inviting the reader to connect with these characters, warts and all. At a time when we are unable to physically connect with friends and family it makes it all the more pleasurable to find the kind of emotional sustenance we crave via endearing characters albeit of a fictional nature. With writing that is rich in humour and compassion it’s an absolute breeze to develop these connections whilst witnessing the transformative and restorative healing powers of both human and canine love alongside a generous portion of kindness. 

This was a very visual book for me given that the setting is where I call home. Being so familiar with all the places the author mentions adds an extra special dimension to the reading experience. In my mind’s eye I was walking (unfortunately my running days well over) with these characters, inhaling the sea air and revelling in the views this landscape offers. And I so enjoyed meeting these characters who are all suffering in their own ways. Each one of them brings something different to these pages but my favourite has to be cantankerous, rude and grumpy George whose fondness for cricket and good old fashioned home cooked fare survives the death of his kind, capable and tolerant wife Ellen. That he is angry at her sudden departure is an understatement, left only with puppy Poppy (much to his disgust!) and his memories. He’s in need of an outlet for his rage at being left to fend for himself and church going Betty is the woman brave and kind enough to offer her friendship and cake! The way these two trade insults is hilarious and for me the most comic element of the novel. Despite his curmudgeonly behaviour I liked him immensely and the way in which Ellen talks to him beyond the grave is heartbreakingly beautiful and poignant. Although I’ve chosen to focus on my favourite character every story here is as engaging as the next person’s and equally moving. Counsellor Dan with his faithful companion Fitz copes with life through his obsessive counting rituals, a man clearly uncomfortable in his own skin but who may be about to meet his match and finally there’s Lizzie and son Lenny, a woman who perhaps is the most complex character of them all but what or who is she hiding from? 

All the dog ‘characters’ in this novel provide a comforting presence, either complimenting their owners personalities or acting as temporary guardians of the mental well-being of all those who we meet in their hour of need. It never ceases to amaze me the intuitive  nature of our canine friends with their ability to sniff out sadness, the author capitalising on the specialness of their powers to heal and soothe the soul, driving the narrative forward. There’s simply no denying everyone benefits from spending time in their company. 

True to life there’s at least two sides to every story and the author surprisingly flips from a more humorous lighthearted angle into one that is tragic and bittersweet and will show one character in a very different light. Never did I anticipate at the start of this novel that I would find it so moving. There are certain scenarios involving these individuals that are so beautifully worded I suffered from bouts of emotional incontinence. The fact the author could reduce me to tears and laughter all within the space of a few minutes is a talent worth acknowledging. The cup of human love and kindness overflows in a storyline that recognises our never ending capacity to survive the hurdles life can throw our way, riding the stormy waves that threaten to knock us off course until we eventually reach calmer waters. And that is true for everyone of us, not just George, Lizzie and Dan so every inch of this narrative is rooted in reality. Our troubles may differ from those depicted on these pages but I do think the majority of us find our inner strength when we need it most just like our indomitable trio. What makes it easier to whether these storms is having the likes of a Betty or a Luke or a Tess to hold our hands and guide us to a happier place; it might be an uncomfortable and unpleasant ride but we will reach that destination! I think the author captures this sense of hope with all three characters living proof that there is always sunshine to be found above the clouds. If you have the added bonus of a Poppy or a Fitz or a Wolfie in your life then in many ways you’re already winning at life!

Although I’ve recently read a couple of great books which explore the human/canine relationship for me Dog Days is the best pick of the bunch. I know that’s in part due to my every day connection to the setting but I surrendered my heart to these characters willingly. Weighty subjects such as grief love and loss are dealt with in a style that left me feeling emotionally nourished,  enriched by immersing myself in all the highs and lows of these characters lives, jealous of their ability to roam free! My heartfelt thanks from one Brightonian to another for this wonderfully engaging 5 star piece of fiction. Whether you’re a dog lover or not Dog Days is a book to cherish. Thank you as always to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read.
Was this review helpful?
Dog Days by Ericka Waller, Pub Date 11/3/2021
Dog Days is an enjoyable read. The three main characters - George, Dan and Lizzie - all have issues and are sensitively portrayed, but so are the other characters like Betty, Luke, Atticus and Tess, Lenny and the late Ellen, who all have their place in this story.
Tough subjects are sensitively covered, loss, grief, mental health and domestic violence. There is also humour, warmth and dogs.
I want to thank NetGalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and author Erika Waller for a pre-publication copy to review.
Was this review helpful?
This book certainly jumped around with the characters but I enjoyed it.  The premise of the story, I guess, is that people meet up when walking their dogs and this can lead to extraordinary friendships and breakups.  It goes from one sad story to another with fun inbetween.  One of the characters, a lady called Lizzie was living in a shelter with her son, Lenny.  The author made you feel so sorry for her and the predicament which was in but that changes towards the end of the book when you realise why she moved away.  I think out of all the characters George was my favourite.  His wife passed away but was still “keeping in touch” via letters which she had written and he found in time.  He was a miserable man full of distain for the world and the people in it and we have all met someone like this but his character grows on you as he mellows albeit slightly.  The other people in the book are equally as good and their stories blend in well with the rest of the story.  I really enjoyed this book
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of the book from Netgalley to review. Thank you for the opportunity.
A really cute and quirky tale based around dogs, perfect for anyone not only animal lovers.. The writing is extremely well done and the reader is gripped from the very first page. I'm not really a dog person, but I found myself spell bound to this story and read it all on one sitting. It is well paced with plenty of sweet and thoughtful moments with reminders of our shared humanity that I feel is needed in current times. I couldn't get enough of this story. I applaud the author on a story well done. 
A great read.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the ARC in exchange for an honest opinion. 

I was very excited about this book, I liked the cover and the fact that had dogs in it. It gave me the vibes of an easy and chilled read. 

Unfortunately, in my opinion, that wasn't the case. There is more drama than expected and full of stereotypes and a few triggers, which made this book not an enjoyable one. I found the characters unlikeable and the writing was just ok.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this tale of 3 very different interesting and likeable characters who have fallen into difficulties who are brought together by the love of dogs.   Amusing and sad in equal measure. 
ARC copy.
Was this review helpful?
This was different to what I was expecting - I thought it would be lighthearted and it is really emotional.  I am glad I read it but had to get into a different mindset to read it. 
The grumpy character, George, reminded me so much of my Dad and then I started to think what would happen if I died as always being referred to as helicoper mum and wife. So that got me thinking. 

Overall it was an interesting read

I was given an advance copy by the publishers and netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review which I have done.
Was this review helpful?
In this story we follow three people's lives, dogs are part of each person's story. George is a grumpy old man but when you read about his story, you can kind of see why. His story for me was the saddest and I wished for better things for him. His late wife had a dog and he doesn't want anything to do with it until his saviour comes along and basically gives him a shove in the right direction. Lizzie has a son called Lenny and they are living in a women's refuge, she has had alot to deal with in the past and is trying to put a brave face on for the sake of her son but can she really? she starts walking Maud and it makes a real difference to her life. Dan is a therapist who can't admit his own feelings, he has his own dog that is always there for him until a man walks into his life and his chair, can he bring himself to admit his feelings or will he miss out on something that he has always wanted? Bringing these three people and their lives including all the dogs involved makes this book really stand out for me, dogs have their way of bringing people out of their shell in the best way possible. I liked how we weaved through George, Lizzie and Dan's story and it wasn't hard to keep up, I really enjoyed reading this story and found it inventive.
Was this review helpful?
The only thing fun and fluffy about this story are the dogs. There are three stories here, only connected loosely. An old man coming to terms with the death of his wife, a young man discovering love for the first time, and a woman and her son in a women's shelter, all have healing to do and issues to resolve. The dogs are the ones who are healthy and give comfort and support in return for a pat, food and a walk. Just shows how mixed up humans are, and how dogs may have the right idea after all!
Was this review helpful?
This book left me in tears, in awe, and in fits of giggles - sometimes all at the same time. Waller gets under the skin of each character, so we almost know them better than they know themselves. Even the dogs have a voice - especially Fitz, who knows more about what he wants from life than his owner does. I loved it.
Was this review helpful?
George is a lost soul. Bereft when his wife Ellen dies suddenly leaving behind a dog, Poppy, he neither asked for nor wanted and a friend who tries to care for him, despite his temper and bad manners.
Lizzie is bottled up in a shelter for abused women with her son Lenny, refusing to face her past or to prepare for her future. Alongside her walks Maud the shelter dog.
Dan is a counsellor, training to be an Iron man with his cousin Luke and helping others, whilst failing to deal with his own issues. Dan too has his companion Fitz.
Ericka Waller has produced a story which weaves the lives of her main protagonists with the lives of their dogs. I found it an interesting and enjoyable read. I write this with my Spaniel, Hattie, asleep at my feet and enjoy my own dog days.
(Review appeared on Good Reads)
Was this review helpful?