Friday, 20 June 2014

Book review: Waiting for Doggo by Mark B. Mills


My edition: Paperback (proof), to be published on 20 November 2014 by Headline Review, 207 pages.

Description: No-one ever called Dan a pushover. But then no-one ever called him fast-track either. He likes driving slowly, playing Sudoku on his iPhone, swapping one scruffy jumper for another. He's been with Clara for four years and he's been perfectly happy; but now she's left him, leaving nothing but a long letter filled with incriminations and a small, white, almost hairless dog, named Doggo.

So now Dan is single, a man without any kind of partner whether working or in love. He's just one reluctant dog owner. Find a new home for him, that's the plan. Come on...everyone knows the old adage about the best laid plans and besides, Doggo is one special kind of a four legged friend...and an inspiration.

Rating:



Waiting for Doggo is not a contemporary retelling of the similarly titled play by Samuel Beckett, but an endearing little tale of an unexpected friendship between a man and an unwanted, ugly rescue dog.

When Dan's long-term girlfriend unexpectedly disappears from his life, she takes with her pretty much all of their worldly possessions, yet she leaves behind the dog he never cared for in the first place. The little creature is so out of place in their lives that he doesn't even have a proper name yet and is simply referred to as Doggo.

Now the reluctant owner of a pet, Dan's mission is to find a new home for the dog and at the same time find himself a new job. The latter is quite easy, the former.... not so much. But as time passes by he actually starts to enjoy Doggo's company and in small but significant ways the pet's presence helps those around him, Dan included.

The first thing I noticed after I had admired the striking cover (which is AMAZING! I hope the finished copy will look just as good as my proof one does) is that this novel is incredibly short. Possibly the shortest one I've read this year so far, and I managed to read it cover to cover on a return journey from London to Brighton. What it lacks in page count though, it more than makes up for with its utterly heartwarming story. I fell in love with the novel and its titular character very swiftly and even now (several weeks after finishing the book) I feel all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about the precious few hours I spent on that train with Dan and Doggo.

While Dan is the human main character, it's the endearing and inspirational Doggo who is the true protagonist of this story. Despite not being able to communicate with his fellow characters in words, he conveys a lot with his presence and slowly but gradually his influence reaches beyond Dan's personal life. His new co-workers are far more accepting of the creature than Dan is, and they soon eat out of the little dog's eh... paw.

I'm not a dog person myself and the description of Doggo's physical features in the book didn't make him sound very attractive either, but I couldn't help but adore this ugly little creature. He soon became a fixture in Dan's life (at work and at home) and his positive presence not only brought some much-needed inspiration into the lives of those that met him along the way, but it also felt very comforting, both for the characters and the reader.

There is a lot of humour within the pages of this novel as well, making this anything but a soppy tale of a man and a dog, but rather a humorous and uplifting story of friendship, loyalty and discovering the important things in life. Doggo may seem like the unlikeliest of heroes but he is one, that's for sure, not to mention the most adorable dog to make his fictional debut in a very long time.

You can pre-order a copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk or your own preferred bookshop.


Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with him at:

Website: www.markmills.org.uk

Twitter: @MarkMillsAuthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarkMillsAuthor

Many thanks to the publisher for a proof copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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