Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Dog Park-Laura Caldwell

The Dog Park
Laura Caldwell
Mira, Jul 29 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778317142

In Chicago, stylist Jess Champlin and reporter Sebastian Hess spent most of their time together arguing.  To save their floundering marriage they adopted Baxter the Goldendoodle.  His human parents fall in love with him, but their relationship ended in divorce with shared custody of Baxter.  Jess and Sebastian continue to fight, for instance over Baxter’s leash and collar, as they see each other once a week since their dog moves back and forth between them.

While walking with Jess, Baxter breaks loose and runs at full speed towards a toddler and her mom.  He knocks the toddler down just before a truck would have hit little Clara.  Vinnie recorded the incident and placed it on YouTube where it goes viral as everyone agrees with the grateful mom Betsy that Baxter is a superdog hero.  As Jess’ business takes off, she begins dating for the first time since her relationship (except for Baxter) with Sebastian ended, but a betrayal over what happened to her in New York shatters her confidence yet she has gained strength to face the past including her love for ex.

The Dog Park is a fascinating contemporary starring an OCD female and her beloved canine she treats as her toddler; in fairness her ex sees Baxter as a “man” since the canine no longer is a puppy.  Baxter the superdog is the lead protagonist as he and the other dogs steal the show from his two-legged momma; his human dad is a secondary character.  Though at times the plot turns too cute, The Dog Park is an enjoyable tale that looks deeply at the bond between a dog and a human.

Harriet Klausner

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