Picks and Pans Review: Dog Handling
By Clare Naylor
Men are dogs. We've heard this before. In this version our spunky heroine, Liv, is 27 and English. She's living on GMT (that's Get Married Time) but gets jilted. So she and a friend visit Australia, where she not-so-coincidentally meets up with Ben, her teen sweetheart. A guy friend gives her a valuable tip about men: Metaphorically speaking, if you give them a little bit of your scent and stay just out of reach they will, much like dogs, keep sniffing the trail.
Readers will stay on Naylor's scent as she devises surprising ways to break up and re-pair brightly drawn characters (Liv, done up in an outfit with a high "cleavage-to-lower-body ratio," gets little for her trouble except "a proposal of bigamy"). While these love-hungry animals may suffer from ambivalence, imperfection and hangovers, they're never at a loss for a one-liner. Preparing for a date, Liv plans "enough eyelash batting to start a wind farm and power the national grid." Amid the comedy, though, the novel has a quietly confident, smart-girl sensibility. As for the dog metaphor: To Naylor's credit it doesn't get gnawed to death. (Ballantine, $12.95)
Bottom Line: Yip, yip, hooray!
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