Nose Down, Eyes Up
by Merrill Markoe
3 stars - partly 2 stars, partly 4 stars
ALR Green - lots of happy dogs
Did I read this book before? Maybe I did. Either that, or I read her previous dog novel and just had a similar reaction.
Nose Down, Eyes Up follows the life of Gil, a middle-aged guy who never really grew up and lives by picking up odd jobs and staying as a guest in the homes of people who are on vacation. He's got four dogs, Cheney, Fruity, Dink, and Jimmy.
One day, he overhears some odd dog type sounds and discovers that his dog, Jimmy, is holding lectures for all the neighborhood dogs on the art of living with and manipulating humans. Yes, Gil can hear Jimmy's words (and every other dog's as well). There are lots of dog books that use the same hook. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, it worked for me.
As for Gil, well, not what I would call a stellar human being, but more about that later. There are some fun exchanges with the dogs. In particular, when Gil goes with his girlfriend, Sara, an animal communicator, on a job only to discover that she is totally misinterpreting what the dogs of her clients are saying. Cute. Clever.
I give all the dog parts of the book four stars. I enjoyed the different personalities of the dogs and the way they struggled with trying to understand the odd behaviors of humans.
Sadly, two stars for the humans. The characters were all flat and cartoonish. In particular, Gil was painted in such an unflattering way that one wonders if the author has some issues with men. The people in the book were universally selfish, clueless, and dull. Ick.
I recommend this book for dog lovers only. Just skim the parts where the dogs aren't talking and you'll be fine.