Hello and happy Friday. Usually, when I’m reading a book and I change my mind about it, it’s for the better, but sometimes I’m reading something awesome that all of a sudden turns out to be less than. This is what happened to me with The Dog Walker’s Diary by Kathryn Donahue, a book that was sent to me for reading and reviewing purposes. I’d like to thank NetGalley, the author and the publisher for this opportunity.
I read this book between October 9th and October 11th, 2019 and gave it three stars. There’s this distasteful “joke” at the beginning about the main character’s behavior being similar to the one of a person with Tourette’s, schizophrenia, and Asperger. Oh, and “anorexic” is never an appropriate adjective. Look, if as an author, you can’t find enough adjectives to describe someone’s behavior that you must make fun of mental illness and neurodiversity, maybe you shouldn’t write at all. If that alone is cause for you not to read this book, I get it. I, however, kept reading and found myself drawn to the story…until halfway through. I’ll further explain this later.
The main character of this book is a man in his forties who has two dogs and finds himself hiring this dog walker. Besides his narration, we get his and the dog walker’s/ love interest’s entries in a “dog diary,” which is their way to correspond. I thought this was super original and it was a nice way to see, and not be told, how the relationship between the characters evolved. The characters are called Daniel and Annie, by the way.
Daniel is strange, and he admits to this. He is very superstitious and awkward, and he admits to being incapable of falling in love. He is also afraid of redheads, which is very unfortunate considering Annie is a redhead. However bad he might seem, he is absolutely adorable with his dogs, which to me helped redeem him as a character. Annie is very smart and witty, and in her diary entries, he writes stories to Daniel about his dogs’ past lives, which I found amazing.
If you’re reading this expecting a traditional romance novel, look elsewhere. Although the relationship between Daniel and Annie develops throughout the first half of the book into a romance, this is not really the center of the plot. You see, Daniel is a literary agent, and he becomes interested in Annie’s stories but is also weary at the fact that maybe she contacted him with the sole purpose of getting them published. We also read about this subplot in which Daniel gets a client who wrote a masterpiece and he wants to publish it.
Because the story alternates between what Annie and Daniel writes and his narration, I got Big Fish/ My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry Vibes, where you have this fantastic story with other-worldly characters, but it has some truth to it. So far I’ve been talking wonders about the first half of the book, but what really troubled me was the second half.
There’s also a potential love triangle that has the characters fake-dating each other at some point, but I was down for that since I knew they were perfect for each other and would end up together.
A little over halfway through, the story starts focusing way more on Annie and Daniel’s romance, and for a person who’s read so much, I know that nothing good comes from two characters who get together when we still have 50% of the story to read. Also, I didn’t like that Annie’s stories stopped abruptly and we didn’t get them anymore. I know that by having the characters be a couple, the written correspondence didn’t need to happen, but it would’ve been nice to have a story thrown here and there.
So, the characters do get together and then it was like someone had changed the book I was reading because the plot didn’t make any sense. We start getting these silly plot twists and time jumps, and honestly, it was as if the author had gotten bored with the story and wanted to end it in any way possible. It would have been better to have the two halves of the book divided into their own separate books, in which case I wouldn’t have read book two.
Have you been negatively surprised by a book you loved at first? Let me know in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila