The Thing Is

Kathleen Gerard. Red Adept, $15.99 hardcover (269p) ISBN 978-1-940215-58-7
Gerard (In Transit) takes on the idea of dogs as wise spiritual guides, but her work suffers from sloppy canine afterlife design and a mismatch between its mildly sarcastic wit and its saccharine message. The biggest issue is the lack of inherent dogginess in the first-person narrative of Yorkshire terrier Prozac, a certified therapy dog (on Earth) and spirit guide dog ("highly evolved and placed in people's lives on purpose"). He shares the book's stage with Meridith Mancuso, a midlist novelist who's been depressed and self-isolating ever since the death of her fiancé. When Meridith unwillingly becomes Prozac's keeper while his owner recovers from surgery, she is pulled back into the outside world, especially through his weekly therapy visits with the doting but quirky and manipulative elder residents of Evergreen Gardens, who treat him like a treasured limited resource. Romance between Meredith and the son of one of the Evergreen residents is a sweet if obvious plot choice, and Gerard traps herself with twists that require an overly sentimental ending. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-1-7367900-0-7
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