Cover Image: Dog Days

Dog Days

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Member Reviews

This was such a sweet, heartwarming book. I think the take home message was every single person in the world has messed up and made mistakes, but is still deserving of kindness. It explored all of the different ways that human beings can respond to pain and showed that every one is valid and can be understood with time and effort. 

It’s called Dog Days because the main characters get joy, support or a reason to live from their doggy companions. Having said that, I feel like the book showed that it’s our connections to human beings that gets us through.

I really liked the fact that it showed relationships very realistically. Two people can love each other (in whatever way, not necessarily romantically) and that doesn’t mean they always get it exactly right. And when they do get it wrong, that doesn’t mean that their relationships are not legitimate or valid. I also liked the fact that there were people who expressed their feelings in very different ways and we’re learning to understand each other’s love languages. 

All I will say is that Betty is a much nicer person than I could ever be and that some of George’s words to her in their big argument are so clinically intended to hurt and humiliate.
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This is a book about a small community, their dogs and how their lives intersect. I really liked how Ericka Waller created characters that are unlikeable or deeply flawed but still humanizes them enough that you can empathise and care about them even if they don't always behave the way that we think they should. And the point about people overcoming their own barriers to form connections with others resonated with me so much during this 
 Covid era when connection is what we long for but there are external barriers.
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Different stories of random strangers who share one thing in common, the love of their dogs.  I enjoyed this book immensely although I preferred some stories to others.  However despite this, I can't say I actually liked any of the characters (and George the widower was particularly unpleasant) although I did sympathise and empathise with them.  I half guessed Lizzie's story and was pleased how her tale ended. Would recommend this as a not too heavy but not too light either read.
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I think it may have been a mistake to request this book, as I am more of a cat person! I tried to get into this, but like a couple of other books I have read recently I just found some of the characters off-putting. The widower in particular was easy to imagine and beautifully written, but so unpleasant that I just really did not care what happened to him and I couldn't imagine starting to care about whether he is rehabilitated or not, it felt as though he had already wasted his chances. I was quite interested in another of the plots about a gay counsellor with imposter syndrome but it wasn't enough to keep me reading. I think I will stick to books about cats and cake in future, as the writing of the book really isn't the problem but there wasn't enough here for me. This review will not be made public as the quality of the writing is fine, it's just a mismatch.
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This has been one of my favourite reads of this year.  I literally laughed, cried and had my heart strings pulled in equal measures. 

Dan, Lizzie and George are the main characters, however, along the way you meet and fall in love with an array of others too including of course lots of scrummy dogs! Maud the Jack Russell, Poppy the Dachshund, Fitz the Labrador and a few more along the way. 

So we follow the lives of these three very different people who all have their own life challenges and are lucky enough to have the unconditional support and love of a dog. Only Dan is actually a dog lover as George and Lizzie pretty much have Poppy and Maud thrust upon them! However, it didn’t take the dogs long to win them around 🥰

I absolutely loved George, the cantankerous old git’s character was hilarious to read about, although I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of his wrath! 

Dan’s story was unravelled and teased out with the colourful addition of Atticus and his pink suede loafers. Their journey brought the sort of tears that just roll down your face without you even being aware of them! 

Lizzie’s story if I’m honest, was a bit slow and I found myself willing her chapters to hurry up so I could get back to George’s antics! However, towards the end I really felt for her and on reflection found her story the most complex and saddening. She certainly won me over with the addition of “Christmas” to her life. When I read the bit about Lizzie wrapping her wellies in a jumper to re-create the weight of Maud on her bed, my heart went out to her! Don’t worry though, Maud doesn’t die and I can confirm that there are no dog deaths in this book thank goodness! 

I also feel a little more knowledgeable thanks to Lizzie’s love of random facts and enjoyed telling my know-it-all hubby a few things he didn’t actually know!! 

Fantastically well written book with rich and lovable characters and although some very deep issues were explored, I was left uplifted and hopeful. Probably due to the positive influence felt from our intuitive and healing four legged friends. Where would we be in life without their unconditional love? 

If you love dogs and a book with all the feels, be sure to pop this in your diary to purchase in March next year, you won’t regret it.
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Dog Days is a beautifully written book about real people. Ericka Waller takes you right inside the heads of Dan Lizzie and George. Three very different people all feeling their way through some major bumps in the road and helping you feel too. I wasn't sure what to expect when I chose this book. I think the title drew me. Being a dog lover I just wanted to see what it was all about. I love the dogs' personalities and I love the way they know things about Dan, Lizzie and George. A't some point, even though I was enjoying peeking into their lives, I wondered where everyone was going. I was interested but not compelled and almost as soon as that happened things in their lives unravelled and I was left with oh ! oh ! and oh ! How is this going to end ! And when it did, I didn't want it too. A vew happy tears and a few sad tears were shed.
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This was an enjoyable read, following the lives of three very different people who live in the same town.

The book is written so each chapter focuses on a specific character. I like this style of writing as it allows the narrative to develop each character, while still progressing the story at a steady pace. The character development was well written and explored some important issues, such as bereavement and domestic abuse. 

There were a few twists in the story that I guessed, however it was still an enjoyable read that I would recommend.
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Well this was a surprise! From the title I’d expected something light, but this is a book packed with real and vibrant characters and there’s nothing light about it at all. George has lost his wife of 50 years, and he finds himself in a world where nothing makes sense to him. Lizzie and her son enter a women’s refuge, but despite the help and support of the manager, she’s not ready to tell the police her story. Dan is a counsellor who suffers from imposter syndrome, convinced that one day his boss will realise he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Into their lives come Betty, Luke and Atticus and their small worlds are transformed. This was such an emotional read and I was convinced I knew what was coming, but no! This was a beautiful insight into a group of people struggling to find their place in the world – surviving sudden loss of a partner/loss of a child, discovering their sexuality. So moving, so sad, so funny (at times – Star Wars references and George’s grumpiness in particular) all tied together with the dogs who offer unquestioning loyalty to the people who walk and feed them.
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George, whose wife had died was left with a much unwanted dog called Poppy. I just adored George, a typical grumpy old man who was so used to his wife doing everything for him.

Dan the, anxious and OCD tendancies, counselor has Fitz. He is meant to be helping Atticus but ends up being counselled by himself.

Lizzie walks Maud, scared of everything meets Luke whose dog is Wolfie.

All different people. All have dogs in common. You often get a feel for a book within a chapter or two. This book gave me a good vibe. I loved this book, flitting from one fabulous character to the next, all intertwined. The characters are so likeable and I found them funny, in a weird sort of way. Lovely story about friendship and they happen to have dogs too. Perfect lazy afternoon reading while snugged up with a dog.
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I really enjoyed this book which reminded me of a more accessible version of Sigrid Nunez's recent award-winning novel. Very charming and engaging with rich characters. A gem.
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This story was not what I was expecting at all, I was prepared for a lighthearted story with dogs involved (obviously, the title gives that away a bit!) but what I got was a quite dark and depressing book. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all  complete misery it was just quite deep for me and not the kind of book I normally go for. The 3 main characters are all likeable in their own ways, although George took a while to warm to at first, but the book just didn’t grab me unfortunately. Such a shame as I was really looking forward to it and wanted to like it so much. Some very important issues touched upon in the story though and very well written. Just not for me unfortunately.
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Yes, this was a fine read. But when I read the synopsis I expected a uplifting story of course with dogs. But it wasn't. But it was ok.
3 stars
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I liked this book but I did mark it down a star as it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. After reading the synopsis I expected some life dramas but with dogs...an uplifting read, but that isn’t what I got. Dog days was amusing in the parts about grumpy George who turned out to be my favourite character, however (and spoilers ahead) I didn’t expect suicide (and a particularly heart rending one) or spousal abuse. I felt pretty depressed after reading it, although as a positive, the issue of depression, suicide and especially abuse of a husband, are not usually subjects which are tackled. It was well written and I did want to read it through to the end so I still gave 4 stars.
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Dog Days was a surprising read - unputdownable, a term I don't use very often! I expected a light-hearted tale of dogs and their owners and was pleasantly surprised to find depth and emotion aplenty. The three main characters, grumpy old man George, vulnerable and brittle Lizzie, scared, kind Dan and their canine friends, take turns each chapter for their story to unfold. There are serious subjects being unravelled -  grief, domestic abuse and coming out - but there is also plenty of humour. Dog lovers will love the doggy characters, but there's so much more here for everyone. A must-read!
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My favourite genre of book these days is 'person accidentally ends up with dog and grows to love it' so this seemed like my sort of thing. There are three stories told in the book. One is about a man called George who has just lost his wife and finds himself with this dog he never wanted and this was my favourite element of the book. Dan is a therapist who ends up dating one of his patients (which I thought was a bit of a 'yikes' moment) and Lizzie is a woman living in a refuge with her son who walks other peoples dogs for them. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others and the novel was a lot darker than I expected it to be. Overall, it was quite a good read and I got through it fairly quickly.
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Dog Days was a surprise of a read, I was expecting something light-hearted but instead it was a deep and emotional book.

The story follows three main characters George, Dan & Lizzie and I thought I was going to be reading about them all meeting and becoming friends in a dog park or something similar, I was very wrong.   Yes there were dogs involved in the story but it was so much more than that.

Without giving too much away, this book touches on suicide, depression, domestic violence, grief and homophobia.  It highlights how not everything in life has a happy ever after, people and their emotions/actions are complex and not straightforward.  A great book if you like reading about messy lives without fairytale endings like I do.
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I liked this a lot more than I thought I would!
It was also much deeper and darker than I anticipated and had a few surprises.
The reason I've not rated this higher is due to the fact I found George really insufferable. I know we are supposed to empathise with him but he comes across as twisted and nasty.
I also feel that some things were never explored further or explained, for example, it doesn't make sense to me that Dan pursued a relationship with a patient (former or otherwise) with no professional repercussions.
Overall, I enjoyed this and felt that the dog illustrations were a lovely touch.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.
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Dog Days is a powerful and emotive look at life with our furry friends. How we love them, how they help and enrich our lives and how we deal with loss. This book is a wonderful read,
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My Rating: 3.8


First Impressions

When I saw the front cover, I absolutely fell in love with it! You can already see the three different lives being presented before even starting the book, and the description paints an amazing picture right from the start about who the main characters are and their dogs too - who doesn't love a book with a furry friend involved? I was so excited to learn about George, Dan, and Lizzie as they all seemed to bring something different to this already unique story, but I was so intrigued by the characters foreshadowed within the description too. I knew there would be much more than what would meet the eye!

The Characters

George was introduced right in his raw stages of grief since losing his wife, Ellen, and although he was already a bit of a grump naturally, it was obvious he was hiding his sadness behind anger. My heart really broke for him, but slowly started to piece back together as he opened up to Betty. I was still so infuriated by his actions, beliefs, and nature, though - quite homophobic, sexist, and ignorant. 

Dan was quite a complex character, his own anxiety and OCD coming to light while therapising others as his job. It was so interesting to be put into his mindset during his point of view and slowly learning more and more about him. The bond he has with Fitz is absolutely adorable, and the dynamic between himself and Atticus always made me feel gooey inside! I could really relate to him being afraid of being so open about who he is and felt like I created my own bond with him much more than the other characters!

Lizzie's story is such a heavy and significant one to read about. She's very closed off and scared in the women's refuge but still has this protective and loving nature, especially towards her son Lenny. I absolutely adored Luke and the way he took Lenny under his wing so quickly, but did think he was going in head-first way too fast. There were parts where I thought ''that's a little bit strange'' or ''too much'' about Lizzie's thoughts, which made much more sense towards the end of the book!

Final Thoughts

I had absolutely no idea how I imagined this book ending! A wedding? Moving away? Some puppies, even?! Many of the scenarios I had floating around in my mind were not even CLOSE! It was definitely such a bittersweet feeling to reach the final page. There are countless heavy and triggering topics that are handled within 'Dog Days' which I didn't expect at all, but were very significant to the story and it's characters. So if you fancy giving this one a go, please bare this in mind! 

Conclusion

When I first saw the (gorgeous) front cover, I already knew I just had to read it! Not only did I meet lots of very different characters, I got to meet lots of lovely dogs who had their own development and story, too. I feel so honoured to have been able to read this book: it provoked every kind of emotion in me; opened my eyes to situations that I didn't know enough about; and allowed me to find parts of myself within the story. 

Ericka Waller did such an amazing job at creating these characters and encapsulating their different journeys throughout the book, to then bring them all together beautifully! There were also adorable illustrations dotted throughout the novel which were such a joy to come across! The only things that irked me were that I struggled to get into a good rhythm at the start and felt hurt by George being quite narrow-minded - but I suppose the power of a good book is to make you feel all kinds of emotions!

'Dog Days' was touching, heart-breaking, and enlightening all rolled into one and such a worthy read! 

Blog Review:
https://alovelylittlelibrary.blogspot.com/2020/09/dog-days-by-ericka-waller.html
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This was an inspirational, emotional novel. I loved the inclusion of dogs, and the human characters were great too. Its a story about navigating life and death, with the help of your furry friend. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this E-book to review via Netgalley.
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