Author: Jackie Bouchard
Date Published: 2011
Recommended Age: Teen and older
Reviewed By: Tara Fox Hall
The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she'd just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona's gut.
This is how Maggie Baxter, a practical, rule-following accountant, discovers that her husband of seventeen years is cheating on her. All her meticulous life plans are crushed. When he leaves her for the other woman, Maggie and her the-world-is-my-smorgasbord chocolate Lab, Kona, are left to put their lives back together. As Maggie begins to develop a Plan B for her life, she decides to be more like Kona. No, she's not going to sniff crotches and eat everything that isn't nailed down; rather she'll try to approach life with more ball-chasing abandon. Finding herself in situations where she begins to go through her usual over-analysis of the pros and cons, she stops and instead asks herself: What would Kona do? With Kona as her guru, Maggie begins her quest for tail-wagging joy. .
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. With lines like the following, it was impossible not to!
“…more grey area than a mosh pit at a Neil Diamond Concert.”
She thought of the expensive memory foam mattress they’d bought a few years back. She hoped the memories of her locked in that mattress would haunt them, maybe every night for the first month or two... or six. You’ll be wishing we’d bought forgetful foam.
“Virginity: The Sequel. Coming Soon” “The one sequel that’s better than the original.”
I confess I always wondered what happened to eggs when <a woman’s> tubes were tied…did they build up behind the knots?
From the uncomforted-ness of sexy underwear to thoughts on life, marriage, and food, Maggie was a heroine it was easy to root for. Here is an except that I just loved:
This could work. She tried to concentrate, but random thoughts kept popping into her head, like why was saxophone music so perfect for having sex. Is it the name—sax? She felt oddly disconnected from herself as her crazy saxophone thoughts ran through her mind and Brian trailed his fingertips across her shoulders, down her arms. She shut her eyes. “Sax,” she said, absentmindedly. It just popped out. Ohmygod. I’m coming down with some sort of arousal-induced Turrets Syndrome. She imagined the drug company ads: “A*T*S is a real disease that affects tens of dozens of Americans. Don’t let A*T*S spoil that special moment with that special someone. Just take our pink pill...” No, a pink pill would be too feminine. But she liked the alliteration. “Our purple pill...”? No that’s taken. Puce?... Oh God. I’m losing it. Please let him kiss me before I blurt out something else nutty, like “Penis.” She guessed Brian had no qualms about having sex with a crazy woman as he continued to caress her. He pressed a finger to her lips and bent to whisper in her ear. “What happened to our guidelines? No play-by-play.”
Every plot twist was realistically done, and sometimes painful to read, because I almost felt as if Maggie was a real-life friend who I was watching go through a terrible divorce.
In my opinion, the summary plot is not the plot of this book, in that Maggie doesn’t really look to her dog to give her a better way to approach life. Rather she takes a good look at her life, decides to make changes, and sees them through. When some don’t work out, she makes new ones. It was heart-wrenching to watch her try and fail, to have her see her ex at social places with his mistress and be both hurt and angry. It was wonderful to have her doggedly pick up the pieces, and build a new life with the shattered glass of her former one. I was very pleased with the HEA ending of the tale, though it was obvious that a character introduced early on in the book was going to be her true love, in spite of some author misdirection.
I could have lived without the scene of the dog Kona eating a baby squirrel and puking up the bits, and Maggie feeling squeamish as she cleaned the mess up. This was a bit too much realism for me, being an owner of a cat who enjoys eating rabbits. Maggie also begins a new business in her quest for a new life, which is almost immediately hugely successful. While I definitely agree that this woman deserved a break, that part of the book seemed hurried and a bit unrealistic.
Conclusion: I would read this book again, because I liked the way it made me feel not just in sections, but all the way through. That is the highest praise I can give a book J.
Language: Some swear words
Adult Content: Some heavy topics, like adultery, but nothing graphic
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