Walking in Circles Before Lying Down, Merrill Markoe (Random House, 270 pages, 2006, $22.95)
Walking in Circles Before Lying Down starts out like a book you simply can’t put down. A riotous family of four, now all grown up, with one family member crazier than the next except for our almost normal narrator who may be writing a side-splitting book about her family and her several loves, as well as those of her mother, her father and her sister.
You would almost think Walking should be set in the Hippie Era of the 60s and 70s, for all the moving around from one abode to another and one hair-brained money-raising scheme to another.
However, after just a few chapters, the fast-paced conversations and plot twists become exhausting. Each short chapter begins with a few paragraphs about the book being written (or not), then advances the plot and ends with a few wise interpretations from the major canine character who saves the storyline.
Chuck is a pit bull type who talks (as do all the other dogs) but only to our major character (who may be the only sane human in the bunch). Unfortunately, the adorable canine on the cover doesn’t resemble a pit bull in the least but is adorable and adorably posed.
Now, if only the entire book could be written from the wise point of view of Chuck the dog. . . .