Starred Review. Kihn, a television writer turned management consultant, recovering alcoholic, and dog lover, shows how healing can come from the most unlikely of sources. He introduces us to the overzealous and energetic Hola, his five-year-old Bernese mountain dog who greets friends and strangers alike with full-body slams, chases buses, terrifies her family, and has the distinction of being expelled from two obedience schools. When we meet Kihn, he's doing no better. An out-of-shape, deeply in debt alcoholic, Kihn is on the verge of separating from his wife. He trades his need for booze for a need for Hola to win a Canine Good Citizen rating in the hopes of convincing his wife that both master and pooch are deserving of forgiveness and another chance. As Kihn struggles to stay sober, Hola's training becomes a lifeline—and a clue to his recovery: he comes to realize his wayward dog is actually very intelligent; he's been her greatest obstacle all along as his anxiety has been causing her to act out. This wry memoir of the human-dog bond is one that eschews the usual treacly sentimentality in favor of a raw, deeply sincere, and self-aware homage to this powerful bond. (May)
"Martin Kihn is just too talented—I still don’t know how a writer can be that laugh-out-loud funny while chronicling a major life crisis—and his story is just too good to miss. (And of course the soulful pictures of Hola, his lovely Bernese mountain dog, don’t hurt either.)"
—Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor
"It’s the special relationship between man and animal that form the heart of the memoir. . . Any dog lover is bound to tear up over the love and trust that can exist between a person and their dog, which Kihn captures perfectly with a blend of earnest emotional catharsis and wry humor."
—Katie Stroh, The Daily Texan
"Not a cozy Marley and Me duplicate or Cesar Millan–type training book (though readers will learn a lot about the value of appropriate training from someone who’s been there), this sharply written, darkly funny memoir–cum–dog story–cum–recovery tale is a quick, absorbing read that will serve a wide audience well."
—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
"This wry memoir of the human-dog bond is one that eschews the usual treacly sentimentality in favor of a raw, deeply sincere, and self-aware homage to this powerful bond."
"Hola, surprise, surprise, grows enormous, while also growing out of control, ignoring commands, sprawling, immovable, across the bed. Add to this rowdy mix the fact that Kihn drinks way too much and that his wife, Gloria, is on the verge of leaving him, and you have a recipe for a surefire heartbreaking bestseller along the lines of Marley and Me
—Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“This tale of a man who forgot he was a man and the dog who ultimately reminded him is the most touching, original buddy story I’ve come across in ages. Sit. Stay. Read.”
—Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air
“A modern masterpiece that captures the dark side of K9 love.”
—Julia Szabo, Dogster.com
“Martin Kihn’s agile wit is showcased in this memoir of addiction, recovery, and the highs and lows of canine and human behavior. Despite its compact form, Bad Dog
carries a surprising amount of weight, and when you're not looking, it will knock you over and charm you, all while licking your face.”
—Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
“A bittersweet tale of renewal . . . An endearing read full of hope, humor and humility.”