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.)
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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
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