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The Dog Park: A Collection of Stories with a Common Cast of Characters Paperback – July 18, 2010


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145057176X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450571760
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,859,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

About Ann Elwood Ann Elwood lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with six cats, a desert tortoise, seven box turtles, and a German Shepherd, Louie, who looks like Rin Tin Tin. She graduated with a degree in English literature from Fairleigh Dickinson College, New Jersey, then, after brief career as an elementary school teacher, made her living a as a writer, mostly freelance, based primarily in New York City. In 1967, she moved to Los Angeles, where she was advertising manager for a publishing company. In 1972, she returned to free-lancing . A desire to delve more deeply into ideas finally drove her to graduate school in 1981. She was awarded a Ph.D in history in 1989; her dissertation focused on an order of 17th and 18th century French nuns. Now, she teaches part-time and write the books she has always wanted to write but never had the time for. In addition to The Dog Park, she has written a biography of the first Rin Tin Tin, who was a star in silent movies.

More About the Author

About the Author


Ann Elwood lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with six cats, a desert tortoise, seven box turtles, and a German shepherd, Louis, who looks something like Rin Tin Tin in his soulfulness. At night she can hear the ocean when the tides are high.
When she was a child in New Jersey, her family had a shepherd dog, Mac, who died a tragic death, shot because someone thought his foaming-at-the-mouth fear of a thunderstorm meant he had rabies.
After college, she taught elementary school for a few miserable years, then moved to Camden, New Jersey and landed a job as a typist-clerk at the Philadelpha Bulletin. When her boss discovered she had difficulty typing up circulation figures with twelve carbons, she was fired and found another job writing copy for a paternalistic insurance company that offered a low salary and delicious free lunch. One of the typesetters had the magical ability to square up a stack of paper into a perfect cube.
Eventually she moved to a studio apartment on Irving Place in New York City, and, after a few months of writing copy for a textbook company, went on to freelance as a writer of anything anyone would pay her for. In 1967, she moved to Los Angeles, where she was advertising manager for a publishing company. Then the West Coast was a mecca for writers and adventurers. Within a couple of years, she visited a Malibu beach house, fell in love (long-distance) with Bob Dylan, met Thomas Pynchon (he wouldn't remember it), and saw Hair. In 1972, she returned to freelancing. The following year she moved to Cardiff and adopted her first dog as an adult - Puppy, a mixed breed who looked something like a fox. (To show you how inappropriate Puppy's name became, she'll tell you this: Puppy died at age 17.) She wrote articles for Irving Wallace and his son, David Wallichinsky (People's Almanac and Book of Lists), and did other wonderful things she won't mention here. With Carol Orsag Madigan, she wrote several non-fiction books.
A desire to delve more deeply into ideas finally drove her to graduate school in 1981. Her dissertation focused on an order of 17th and 18th century French nuns so she had to spend a happy year in France doing research. During that year, while not in the archives, she drank local wine with fellow historians and traveled the country with Puppy, who had far less trouble than she did communicating with the French.
Now, she teaches history part-time at California State University, San Marcos, spends time with Louis and the other animals, and writes the books she has always wanted to write but never had the time for.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
I loved the book as a whole and intend to read it again.
Elizabeth P. Crowe
At first I felt the writing was a bit choppy and that some of the information in the first two or three stories just didn't seem to have a purpose.
Irene A.
That may be a result of the "common cast of characters" which by that point are familiar to the reader.
J. DuPont

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mavis Porter on June 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Dog parks are not just for dogs, they are a new "market place" where dog lovers meet, form friendships, exchange gossip and even fall in love. Ann Elwood has the perfect dog and obviously a great park to enjoy all this. Her stories are fun and interesting, her writing excellent and it is a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader4Life on March 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First things first. I was able to get this book as a free download for my Kindle in early January. I did not receive a copy for review purposes but solely because I selected it on my own.

I finished this book AND then read the reviews. Thank goodness. First off, this is a work of fiction; at no point does the author hold herself out as an expert on any particular issue raised in the book. This is important to remember; this is a work of FICTION. Things that we take as fact in our every day lives doesn't have to be precise in a work of fiction. As an example: the agility training. So what if the author didn't get it absolutely correct? Is it that a big a deal or is it more important to inform readers that there is agility training and competitions? Personally, while I do know about agility training and would consider it for my pupsters if it were offered in my area, it was nice to be reminded. Based on the description provided almost anyone could set up an agility course for their pupsters; not for the purpose of competition, but to provide something as a new challenge for their own dog.

Second, each and every short story interwove and made a complete picture of the uniqueness of this particular dog park. It was not one particular point of view or one particular dog that defined (or defines) a dog park; it is the common community of the park itself. The larger story, beyond the dog park, is how we interact with each other. We really ought to take a page from our dogs.

This was a satisfying read and totally engrossing. I highly recommend this to anyone. Dog owner or not, dog lover or not, this has something to offer everyone as it reminds us that things are not always what they seem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marsha on July 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this book to review from BookRooster.com. I really enjoyed the stories of the dogs and their owners who visit the Paradise Dog Park. They were interconnected, which I enjoyed.
I am not a dog owner and don't think you have to be one to enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on July 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
In this book there is several short stories that are all part of the same scene and the same set of characters. All the characters take their dogs to this dog park called "Paradise" where they meet each other and become better people. In the first story you meet a character named Cara who just went through a nasty break-up and takes her beautiful dog to this park where she meets another dog that she grew a connection with. Which was one of my favorite stories in the book. I was confused at first in this book but found myself enjoying it. I also was wishing that I could find a dog park like this when I was a child with my dogs. It is a book that is very enjoyable to a dog person and it might be a nice read for those who just like to read short stories. I recommend this book to anyone of my friends and any person who is a dog person. I have received this complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary L. Locke on June 17, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved the Dog Park Stories. These eleven stories are all set in a wonderful dog park that will feel familiar to many dog lovers. It features a wide cast of characters-humane and canine alike. Each story examines a variety of human predicaments, from lost love, lost confidence, new friendship, new love, aging, and mental illness. The stories will make you laugh, and cry, and shiver, and remember why everything in life is better when there are dogs around!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. DuPont on July 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

I am very fond of short stories, and was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I had to force myself to continue after the first story, "Embodiment", which was strange and surrealistic. Ann Elwood has her character receive "transmissions" from the dogs, enabling her to smell as they do, or see as they do. I have to admit that the stories improved after the first few. That may be a result of the "common cast of characters" which by that point are familiar to the reader.

There were some graceless turns of phrase and a particularly odious flaw in grammar: "Silence doesn't bother J.P., or I". There is no excuse for that-- any reader's ear is instantly offended.

On a positive note, I definitely became more interested in the characters as they unfolded. Ann Elwood has a surprising way of weaving the stories together which kept me wanting to know where she was leading.
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By Gadi Ben-Avi on December 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't finished reading it yet, but so far, I'm enjoying it.
I like the interaction between dogs and people.
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By Maryann Watkins on January 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Right off the top: I'm a dog lover. I train my dogs and we compete in obedience trials. I've never taken any of my dogs to a dog park, but know many people who do. I was ready and willing to love this book. Bottom line: I loved parts of it.

The eleven short stories stand alone but you start to recognize the dogs (and their people) who frequent this dog park. I found myself disliking many of the characters! Pretentious, overbearing, judgemental, lazy ... they're all there! But so are the caring, astute, intelligent characters.

Many of the stories were fairly dark in nature (to explain would give too much information) and I found myself hoping the story would end quickly. Some of the endings had me shaking my head ... uh, what was THAT?

There are some very nice moments between people/people, people/dogs and dogs/dogs. And there's also some good information about canine behavior, too! I disagree, however, with the notion that dogs don't like to be hugged; mine do - and always have. In fact, they will initiate hugs.

Bottom line: you will probably enjoy some of the stories and dislike some as well. Isn't that what a collection of short stories is usually all about?
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