George is very angry. His wife has upped and died on him, and all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there’s the dog, a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn’t want a dog – he wants a fight.
Dan is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people – if only he were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life.
Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is forced to walk the refuge’s fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons – if she can keep her secret just a while longer…
Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters – joyous, heartbreaking and wise – Dog Days is about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in.
First of all let me just say that I LOVE dogs. So when this title came up for review I was a bit biased.
Dogs love us. They trust us, they never question our decisions (unless sausages are involved and they are not going to get any) and they are our best listeners.
Dog Days proves this. George is wallowing in his own grief and filth. Ellen did everything for him until she went and died and left him notes all over the place telling him what to do. She also left him with a Dachshund puppy called Poppy. George is rude to everyone till no-one wants to help him. Apart from Betty that is. She’s made of sterner stuff and can give as good as she gets. George says he hates her, but he likes her food and her help around the house. She just won’t go away no matter how often he shouts and swears at her. And he swears – a lot.
Dan is a counsellor but when he needs talk to someone, it’s always Fitz the Labrador. His only real human friend is his cousin Luke with whom he runs and trains for marathons. Then Atticus comes to one of Dan’s therapy sessions and Dan is lost. In spite of all his experience, he doesn’t understand why Atticus is there or what he wants. Dan needs Fitz more than ever. He can’t talk to Luke about something so personal.
Lizzie is covered in scars. But the scars on her body are just part of the hurt – the mental scars from her abusive marriage haunt her at night. She lives at the shelter with her son Lenny and won’t open up about her previous life. Then Tess persuades her to walk her overweight terrier called Maud and she is forced to go out. That’s the first time she meets Luke and his giant dog Wolfie.
This book is so emotional and heart-warming and at times very sad. It looks at relationships, fear and the human condition. I never wanted it to end. The characters are like old friends and I worry for their future – I hope they can all be happy.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours.
About the Author
ERICKA WALLER lives in Brighton with her husband, three daughters and pets. Previously, she worked as a blogger and columnist. Dog Days is the sum of everything she has learned about love, loss and the healing power of dogs.
ERICKA WALLER’S NOTE ON DOG DAYS:
“One of the inspirations for Dog Days came from walking my own dogs. It’s this weird
alternative universe – dog owners could be psycho killers, but we approach them alone on windy beacons, because they have a dog. Dog owners might be battered wives, addicts, cheaters, thieves.
I also wanted to use dogs to reflect how we, as humans, are consumed by things we cannot control or change. Dogs live from one falling leaf to the next. Their emotions are simple. I wanted to set them against the lives of three characters battling with real life issues such as depression, anxiety, OCD and grief.
I wanted to explore how people force themselves into a shape we can understand, that goes along with the stories we tell ourselves. I didn’t want to write a romance, but I did want the book to be suffused with different kinds of love: platonic, sexual, maternal.
I wanted to explore how women are perceived by other women and the way we need to force them into a shape we can understand, that goes along with the stories we tell ourselves. Everything is always about how it makes us feel, so we alter reality or bend truths to make them fit in how we need the world to be.”