dogs Posts

“The Book of Dog”

Once upon a time, I too had dogs. They were an integral part of my life. They would sit at my feet while I studied. We travelled by road for lovely, long trips. Dad would ensure that we were booked into accommodation that welcomed the dogs. In our family, dogs were and are a part of our lives and this has been true across generations. A lot of memories came flooding back while reading the stories in The Book Of Dog edited by Hemali Sodhi ( published by HarperCollins India). And most certainly one of the memories being that of calming a petrified Hemali when she spotted a pet dog across a vast hall at an event. So her transformation into an ardent doglover is the stuff that myths are made up of. If I had not witnessed it for myself, it would have been hard to believe what she narrates in her introduction. But it is true. The kindness, gentleness, warmth, unconditional love that the animals offer has to be experienced at least once and I am glad Hemali Sodhi has. Sadly, with the joy comes the pain, grief and the gaping hole in one’s heart that the dog’s departure leaves. The Book of Dog is a gorgeous collection of essays, photographs, poems, and illustrations by pawrents. And you know it is a winner when munchkins adopt it by slipping in notes, appropriating it as their own.

19 Jan 2022

Meg Rosoff, “Jonathan Unleashed”

Award-winning young adult writer Meg Rosoff is a brilliant writer. No wonder she has been awarded the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award ( ALMA) this year or what is fondly referred to as the Nobel Prize for Children’s Literature, given its whoppingly delicious prize money of £430,000. It is given to an author for their body of work. ( ) What is particularly satisfying is that such a passionately ferocious storyteller is conferred the award for her work in young adult literature within weeks of the publication of her first adult trade novel, Jonathan Unleashed.

Jonathan Unleashed is about Jonathan Trefoil, in his twenties, living in New York, working in an advertising firm that he does not particularly relish but the saving grace in his life are the two dogs he is babysitting. Dante and Sissy belong to Jonathan’s brother who has had to relocate to Dubai for a job. Thrown into this mix are his girlfriend who does not particularly care for the menagerie, a vet and old school friend/colleague. His girlfriend persuades him to get married online since her magazine will sponsor it. He has a breakdown with the pressures of work and a love-life that is nerve-wracking — Jonathan has a better sleep at night cuddled up in bed with Sissy, the cocker spaniel, than his girlfriend! It is a Meg Rosoffromance novel with the rawness and honesty of young adult writing and at a quick pace that is never dull to read. Meg Rosoff gets the various emotions of dogs ever so well. Not surprising given her love for the four-legged beasts. The relationship between humans and dogs is superbly executed and can only be written by one who has lived and observed dogs closely. Jonathan Unleashed is hilarious and impossible to put down.

Read it.

Meg Rosoff Jonathan Unleashed Bloomsbury, London, 2016. Pb. pp.280 Rs 499 

18 April 2016 


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