Monday, March 05, 2012

Fiction: Puppy Love by Frauke Scheunemann

Readers who loved Garth Stein’s very charming The Art of Racing in the Rain from 2008 will likely also be charmed by Puppy Love, out now from Anansi in Canada and Atlantic in the US. Published to warm and wide acclaim in Germany as Dackelblick in 2010, a book Scheunemann followed up a year later with Katzenjammer, wherein the rescued star of Puppy Love gets a four-legged housemate.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Caroline is a sweet and perhaps-too-trusting animal lover. She travels to an animal shelter and has the good taste to choose Hercules, a down-on-his-luck dachshund who proves to be perhaps too opinionated. After he moves in with Caroline, Hercules’ life would be absolutely perfect but for a boyfriend Caroline’s new dog thinks she would do better without.

Though Caroline doesn’t realize it, with Hercules’ help, her life soon becomes a canine-supervised version of the dating game. However, much to Hercules’ chagrin, Caroline just can’t seem to pick the man who would be absolutely right for her.

Puppy Love is charming, heart-warming and all the things you would just not expect it to be. This is a romantic comedy for those who always believed good things were possible for that sub-genre. Despite the unlikely canine narrator and a cover that borders on the ridiculously cute, at its heart, Puppy Love is a steeply human tale. ◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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