Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park

Matthew Gilbert. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250014-22-1
Dog enthusiasts will flock to this entertaining account of an unlikely canine lover’s ascent into full-fledged member of the neighborhood dog-park club. Gilbert, a TV critic for the Boston Globe, was “the last person on earth you’d have expected to find malingering at a dog park” until he marries a dog lover, and finds himself adopting a yellow Lab puppy named Toby. Gilbert becomes obsessed with training and having a well-behaved model citizen of a dog. Soon, dog and owner are inexorably drawn to the grassy fields of Amory Park, a dog park not far from their Brookline neighborhood. Slowly, but surely, he is drawn into the supportive subculture of the dog-park people, a whole range of characters. Hayley is a funny, outspoken graduate student with a Bernese mountain dog; Nash is in love with his golden retriever, Bertha; Drew, a “muscle-bound” hunk in his 30s, with his mutt, Chester, make an adorable pair, and Charlotte, the owner of an aggressive whippet, serves as the park’s villain, knee-deep in denial. Any dog owner who has ever stepped foot in the local dog park will recognize these types, and Gilbert is an adept storyteller, adding just enough intrigue (dog-on-doggie aggression, an attempt at person-on-person romance, the unfortunate realities of humping) to keep the pages turning. Agent: Ellen Geiger, Frances Goldin Literary Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/19/2014
Release date: 07/29/2014
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-250-01421-4
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-250-01457-3
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