Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Review of "Waiting For Doggo"

I managed to wrangle a proof copy of Waiting For Doggo (which will come out in November) through a competition on twitter. Now that I've read it, I am SO glad that I did. It's been sitting in my summer "to read" pile for a couple of weeks whilst I've been attempting to work through a backlog of books. Now, if you've read any of my recent reviews you'll know I usually pick out my favourite quote; with Doggo I was too torn to choose. And when I came close, I realised I liked whole paragraph rather than sentences.

This is the first book in years that I've managed to read in just a day. Most authors nowadays are encouraged to write 300 page books, because these are said to sell well. Unfortunately that sometimes means that stories get dragged out to a point where there's a lot of meaningless drivel and not a great deal of substance. Coming in at just over the 200-page mark, Mills avoids this in Waiting For Doggo. I enjoyed every bit of it, and felt that there weren't any "filler" chapters which I wanted to just get through to get to the good bits. 

One of the reasons why I enjoyed Waiting For Doggo so much is that Mills has managed to create a realistic novel without it being bland (or too much like a rom-com, bleurgh). Set in London, Waiting For Doggo narrates the growing bond between an ad salesman and his dog, an ugly piece of baggage from his recent breakup. I knew this much before I started, and expected to hear a tale of a man who sinks into a depressive pit over his lost love and can only find happiness through the pet she left behind. Thankfully, Mills did not take this tedious and predicatable route with the novel. Instead, it is far more humourous. Plus, it is funny without being badly written, something which I'm finding is getting rarer in recent publications. 

This is also the first book I’ve come across in a while that doesn’t have any unlikeable characters. There are no smarmy goody-goodies (Fanny Price anyone?) that are supposed to be likeable, but are just so annoying, nor are there any real dark-hearted characters. The key protagonist, Dan, is a loveable guy who hasn’t had the greatest luck in the world. His unlikely, and often grumpy, sidekick Doggo is also a brilliantly constructed character. Doggo thankfully doesn’t get given any speech in the book, and yet the author managed to give him a vibrant personality which echoes throughout the text.

All in all, it's been my favourite summer read. I would advise anyone to pick up a copy when it comes out - it's fun, lighthearted, and leaves you feeling happy at the end. 


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