sit! stay! speak! by Annie Noblin (Harper Collins, $14.99 [softcover], 364 pages, 2015)
A Nice Beach Read
sit! stay! speak! [sic] is a cross between a mild romance novel and a southern thriller involving a fighting dog ring with other subplots threading in and out – learning how to cook, falling in love and fighting it, gunshots, temporarily moving to the south (Arkansas) and trying to learn the lingo and unwritten customs, recovering from the deaths of a fiancé and of a great aunt, rescuing a puppy pit bull, always seemingly saying the wrong thing to small-town thugs, accepting an elderly neighbor who cavorts through the sprinklers daily in his underwear and nothing else.
Written by an English teacher and complete with reading group discussion questions (and recipes), this book, though long, reads rapidly but is one you can put down just about any time. On the other hand, perhaps it is too long: the average reader can guess what is really going on in the small Southern town and knows our heroine will eventually get the guy of her dreams, winning over the ‘perfect’ lawyer girlfriend-wanna-be. The reader remembers reading books for 10 year-old girls that just go on and on and predictably, as if a certain word count is required so the plot is stretched out and out.
What DID I like?
I like the pit bull puppy who is adorable in its actions. I like the fact that each chapter includes a drawing of a pit bull. I love the cover with a cute little pittie pup. (But neither the cover nor the chapters depict the exact pittie in the novel: it would have been easy to rewrite a few sentences and have them match up.)
The author has done her research and writes eloquently about dogs and dog fighting and small-town southern life (at least as far as I can about the South!).
In a Nutshell
Addie leaves Chicago and its sad memories for Eunice, Arkansas, in order to get her (deceased) aunt’s old house ready to sell. She rescues a pup, gets a job in a veterinary clinic, loves the southern cooking, and runs into a crime ring as well as a love interest.
Read it at the beach or on the plane!
Caveat: DogEvals purchases products for review unless otherwise stated. This book was borrowed from the public library.