Katie Crouch: ‘Men and Dogs’

Dad goes missing after being out fishing on his boat with the family dog. The boat’s still there, as is the dog, but Dad’s never to be heard from again. Protagonist Hannah Legare is still messed up from this chain of events, and it’s no wonder. But it makes for a great opener to Katie Crouch’s Men and Dogs.

Here’s something I really liked about this novel: For once, the protagonist who generally does not have their shit together and is cheating on their spouse and is hard to pity is a woman. I’m getting a bit tired of reading about men who cheat on their wives, drink too much and think too much about their selfish existence. It was refreshing to see such a flawed female act so terribly ballsy and ballsily terrible. (Here’s another book I recently talked about where the woman is the cheater.)

After all, isn’t one of the joys of reading to see people do things you wouldn’t do? Hannah gets a nail jammed in her head, just barely skirting death when she attempts to drunkenly scale her San Francisco apartment. She’s trying to break in and find her husband who’s kicked her out. She falls, and everything is not OK. She’s forced by her husband and mother to spend some time back home in Charleston, sorting her life out.

I’ve never been divorced, or married for that matter, but I have spent some time in my adult years sorting my life out while camped at my childhood home. And whether it’s just the removal from your everyday or the town you grew up in that brings you back to your roots, or simply the motivation to “figure it out” so you can get out of your parents house, it can be a surprisingly good move. If you are recently laid off or just graduated college with no job offers yet, breathe a sigh of relief. A lot of us have moved back in with our parents at some point out of necessity. If you’re lucky enough to have parents you can co-habitate with peacefully, there’s an emotional bonus in addition to the free rent that can turn your jail sentence into a holiday.

But for Hannah, moving in to her step-dad’s old-fashioned, mostly empty mansion in a proper Charleston neighborhood brought her back to a time she had tried to forget. It was filled with first love, rebellion and the same anger and confusion she still feels after all these years about her father’s disappearance. The difference is, on this visit home, she finally starts to sort through those feelings.

I can officially recommend this book as a good beach read after tearing through it on the beach last weekend.

Gigglers: I’m not going to seek out the newest hardcovers and tell you whether or not to buy them. And while not the Sunday Review, this Sunday blog will explore my brilliant and fascinating thoughts about books. Please use the comments section to share your own thoughts on this book, or whatever you’re reading.

Images via Hachette Book Group

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