Waiting for Doggo, by Mark B. Mills, is an entertaining and enjoyable tale about a man and a dog who have each lost the love of their life and ended up with each other. It is a story of loss and redemption but is in no way cloying. It has humour and insight without feeling contrived, pokes gentle fun at the eccentricities and foibles of many differing subcultures in modern society without putting them down. It is a book about a rather ugly dog who enriches the lives of those around him simply by being a dog.
In some ways the story reminded me of some of the better, earlier offerings from the likes of David Nicholls and Nick Hornby. Unlike these though, Waiting for Doggo does not rely on male posturing. The protagonist, Dan, is not portrayed as put upon, frustrated or hard done by. He drifts through life dealing with things as they happen. Despite the best efforts of his family and friends, he remains true to himself.
It is a shame that all of the women in the story are described as beautiful. Doggo is not a good looking dog yet this does not matter, it is what he is inside that counts. It would have been refreshing to have had a similar approach to Dan’s love interests.
That aside though, this is not intended to be a serious critique of modern societies prejudices, but rather a feel good tale about a little dog who is a fine judge of character and seems to know how to get what he wants. In order to gain access for Doggo in various settings, Dan refers to him as a mental health companion dog, which strikes me as an excellent job description for many people’s pets. The book is full of such apparently effortless yet thoughtful asides. It is also full of easy humour and affability.
The story is as inexplicably captivating as Doggo, introducing believable characters and gently absorbing plot lines. Throughout it all the little dog imparts his doggy wisdom as he gobbles up choc drops and responds to kindnesses offered. I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone, dog lover or not. I suspect that anyone who reads it will feel just a little bit wistful that they do not have a Doggo of their own.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.