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Nose Down, Eyes Up: A Novel Hardcover – December 30, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; First Edition edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345500202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345500205
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,879,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jimmy, the canine star of Merrill's second fun-loving doggie novel (after Walking in Circles Before Lying Down), is the Tony Robbins of the dog world and holds informal seminars with the neighborhood dogs to instruct them in the art of manipulating their human masters (the key, he intones, is nose down, eyes up). Jimmy's poochly wisdom—spot-on and hilarious throughout—is made available courtesy of his owner, Gil, an unlucky in love handyman who learns how to communicate with dogs. This launches the novel's plot, as Gil shoots down Jimmy's idea that he is Gil's biological son. Soon, Jimmy is intent on meeting his birth mother, who happens to belong to Gil's now-remarried ex-wife. A series of setbacks beset the duo, and the tribulations provide lessons in life, love and finding happiness. The conversations with the wry, wise and lovable Jimmy (and his three other oddball dog pals) comprise the novel's heart and comedic through-line—discourse ranges from business matters to why dogs pee so many times during walks. Markoe's hilarious dialogue should be a must-read for dog lovers. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gil is a bit of a schlub. Nearing 50, he lives rent-free as a handyman in an elderly couple’s Los Angeles vacation home. His girlfriend, Sara, works as an animal communicator. Consequently, he can now understand all four of his dogs and is surprised to discover that the alpha dog, Jimmy, has been giving informative lectures to the neighborhood dogs about such topics as begging faces, edible shoes, and peeing inside versus outside. A chance meeting with Gil’s ex leads to his accepting a job remodeling her guesthouse, and Jimmy begs to be brought along. Soon Gil finds himself moving uncomfortably closer to his ex and further away from Jimmy, and it’s only when things get rough that Gil and Jimmy begin to reconsider the meaning of family. Markoe’s satire is right-on, even if, as often happens in real life, the dogs are more interesting than their owners. Dog-crazy or otherwise, every reader will find much to contemplate and laugh at in this story about human and animal nature, furry or not. --Hilary Hatton

More About the Author

Merrill Markoe graduated from UC Berkeley with a masters degree in art, then went on to use her degree in the most pragmatic way possible by becoming a writer of comedy for assorted venues, including television, movies and magazines,(when there still were magazines.) Along the way she won five Emmys for Late Night with David Letterman and a Writer's Guild Award for HBO's Not Necessarily the News.These days she is STILL writing books and making short films. To learn more than you probably need to know about her, visit Merrillmarkoe.com. And when I say "her", I mean "me." As far as I can tell, I'm the only one writing this.

Customer Reviews

This book was just plain awful.
woof
I couldn't put it down--it took me two days to read, tops--and I was still laughing hours after I turned the last page.
Alyssa Rushmore
Dog lovers will love this book for the miraculous way that Markoe channels the thoughts and voices of dogs.
Book Lover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By L. Goff on January 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Merrill Markoe is one of my favorite authors, so I make it a point to buy all of her books, read them and recommend them to friends. Do you ever wonder what dogs are actually thinking? Well, as the owner of 2 rescued dogs, I often wish I could read their minds. Reading Nose Down, Eyes Up and her previous novel, Walking in Circles Before Lying Down, may be the closest I'll ever get to reading my dogs' minds. Actually, I'm sure Merrill's dialogue is way funnier than anything my dogs could come up with. And she weaves this creative doggie dialogue into a fiction story that held my attention from the first page to the last.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Williamson on May 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
When Gil stumbles upon his alpha dachshund Jimmy lecturing the neighborhood dogs on canine manipulation techniques, his life is profoundly changed. That is, if you consider Gil's first instinct to exploit his newfound knowledge by starting a pet blog to kick-off the sale of silk-screened T-shirts a profound revelation. The only redeeming quality about 47-year-old, bitterly divorced, layabout Gil is that he understands his dogs far better than the women in his life. If not for the laugh-out-loud dialogue between Gil and his four dogs, Jimmy, Cheney, Fruity, and Dinky, this book would possess little redeeming value.

As an animal lover and a dog owner, I found the first section of the book containing the interaction between Gil and his dogs both heartwarming and hilarious. I laughed out loud during several moments. But then, illustrating a dog's personality is going to be humorous no matter how you write it. However, despite the truly enjoyable first part of the book, including such memorable pearls of canine wisdom as "Is it pee inside, poo inside?" and "Everything can be eaten", the story suffers from an unfortunate overload of dislikable, shallow, greedy, and selfish cast of human characters that sour the latter plot, which focuses more heavily on human than canine antics--predictably Gil's trouble with women.

Drama starts when Gil accidentally runs into his sexy ex-wife at a convenient store while collecting a six-pack for beer-thirty--a longtime tradition for the lately-out-of-work, blue-collar handyman who conveniently lives in the empty summerhouse of rich retirees in exchange for household maintenance.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Williams VINE VOICE on March 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I thought that this would be a wonderful story about Jimmy, an alpha dog in a household of four dogs, realizing that his human guardian isn't his birth-father after all, and then expressing his desire to meet his birth family. Yes, that's part of it, but I really should've read between the lines in the summary: "At forty-seven, Gil [the dogs' human guardian] is the world's oldest twenty-two year old..." This hint, and a houseful of four "guys" and a "girl" (one of the four dogs is female) should've led me to expect the "fraternity house" behavior in this book. But I didn't expect the bad behavior to be that bad or that frequent.

This could have been a wonderful, beautiful, story had there been less foul language, drinking (and constant exclamations of "Beer Thirty!"), sexuality, and sexual/bathroom references (The little female dog in the household can't seem to understand to ask to go outside when she needs to.). Also, Gil's ex-wife seems to be the "stock" ex-wife -- a "Barbie-doll" beauty, greedy, and thinking only of herself.

I can see the potential for Markoe to write something better, but "Noses Down" is not the one.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Yolanda S. Bean VINE VOICE on April 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Well, this is a rather cute read... but not quite as cute as Markoe's other book featuring talking dogs, Walking in Circles Before Lying Down. I suppose there are only so many bits of knowledge that you can pass on as realistic and interesting when originating from a dog's. Although, honestly, it the narrator's character spoils the book a bit for me. He isn't very sympathetic... and that is also true to some extent for the main dog, Jimmy. I don't know... I really had some high hopes for this book, but ultimately it is a bit disappointing. I really love Walking in Circles Before Lying Down. Maybe if the narrator had been a woman... though, it was downright impressive how immediate and modern the book felt with mentions of websites like Facebook, MySpace and I Can Haz Cheezburger... Hopefully her next novel recaptures more of the charm of the last one to feature dogs!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa Rushmore on December 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Merrill Markoe is consistently hilarious, and her latest doesn't disappoint. I couldn't put it down--it took me two days to read, tops--and I was still laughing hours after I turned the last page. The dog dialogue is particularly spot-on; as a dog owner, myself, I recognized everything the dogs said to be "true." It matched their behavior to a "T"! Highly recommend.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LvrOfBooks on June 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved the first book and this one is pretty good too. But geez, are all the foul expletives necessary? I'm not prude by any means but the overuse of the f* and c* words are just unnecessary and take away from the pleasure of relaxing reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By woof on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was just plain awful. I love dogs and reading all sorts of books about dogs (fiction & non).... but I thought this book was extremely hard to get through. The characters were all super annoying especially the main character Gil. Even the dog conversations, which could've been done in a cute & clever way, were agonizing. There were several parts that were trying much too hard to be funny. The swearing really took away from it... I like to swear as much as the next person but come on... obviously the author is lacking in vocabulary. Oh and it got to where I cringed every time it said 'beer-thirty'... it wasn't really even that funny the first time... saying it 29 more times sure didn't help. I only finished reading it because I was traveling and had nothing else to read. Just plain painful from the very beginning... not at all what I expected. Boo.
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