One Dog Happy

Molly McNett, Author . Univ. of Iowa $16 (118p) ISBN 978-1-58729-687-1

Winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, McNett's neat, chipper collection of seven stories uncovers surprising, tender moments in the lives of Midwestern farm dwellers. Gordon, the recently divorced, forlorn and none-too-clean bachelor protagonist of “Wishbone,” has let himself and his old farm deteriorate to such a point that the goth girls on the school bus have started a wicked rumor about him and his ponies. “Catalog Sales” finds two middle school–age sisters of divorced parents trying to navigate their painful adolescence while at the same time having to make the appalling acquaintance of their father's pretty, much-too-young-for-him Philippine fiancée. McNett's enormously appealing title story pursues an elderly member of the church, Mr. Bob, as he botches the care of the minister's beloved, incontinent beagle while the minister and his family are away on vacation. Bob doesn't like or share the minister's sense of blessed entitlement, and he even concludes he is helping the minister's overburdened wife a favor when he loses the dog. There is graceful movement and candor to McNett's work, and a palpable sense of possibilities. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/14/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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