cover image We Think the World of You

We Think the World of You

J. R. Ackerley. Poseidon Press, $7.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-67811-1

At the heart of this offbeat, subtle comedy of class warfare is a lovingly detailed account of a man's attachment to his dog, a subject to which the late Ackerley ( My Dog Tulip ) was no stranger. Frank, a well-bred English servant, reluctantly agrees to take care of Evie after the pup's owner, shiftless, working-class Johnny, goes to jail for housebreaking. Frank has overweening contempt for Johnny's family: his pregnant wife Megan; their bratty kids; Johnny's cheerfully impudent mother, Millie; and Millie's fourth husband, Tom. As a tug-of-war develops over who is to take responsibility for the dog, murderous passions swirl around Evie, who turns out to have an intense emotional life of her own. Frank, the supercilious narrator, is engagingreminiscent of a haughty English butlerthough his snobbery becomes tiresome. Funny, touching and delightful, this long out-of-print novel (reissued to coincide with the release of a film version) is memorable for its sharp character portrayals and, above all, for its unabashed exploration of the love that unites human and pet. (Jan.)