Recommended by: Well, I think everyone’s either reading it now or just finished. Seems this book has been everywhere lately.
From the Back Cover: Part basset, part beagle, all Cupid . . . can a matchmaking hound fetch a new love for his owner?
For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom — from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed — a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets . . . Fred.
Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light-years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.
Alex looks great on paper — a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred’s abiding love for Oreos — but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred — not to mention her suddenly raging hormones — Nina thinks anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it’s the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay!
My Thoughts: She wanted a perky puppy. What she got was a depressed dog; half beagle, half basset hound. She named him Fred because he looked like her uncle. Can I just say, I love Fred? If he wasn’t fictitious, I’d want him for myself. What a character. And any dog who loves oreos can’t be half bad, right? Although, technically not supposed to feed dogs chocolate. Probably wasn’t a well known fact at the time of the original publishing.
I liked Nina. She’s 40 ~ and she has all of the insecurities that go along with getting older. She’s self-conscious about her body, about her life. She’s hung up on her neighbor, Alex, who happens to be 10 years younger. I love the fact that she was real. Well, as real as a fictitious character could be.
Now, Alex. What to say about Alex. Fred likes Alex. I liked Alex up until the last 25 pages of the book. Then I thought he drank too much. And he was trying too hard to prove a point. He was trying too hard to take care of Nina who (hello!!) doesn’t need to be taken care of. Around page 208, I thought he was too stupid to live. Yes, that’s right. A hero ~ Too Stupid To Live. I almost stopped reading right there. For a wedding present, he wants to buy a house…in the ritzy neighborhood that she lived in with her ex-husband, who still happens to live there. I mean if she wanted a life just like she had when she was married, wouldn’t she still be married? If I were Nina, I’d dump him right then and there. I think he needs to go to Oz and get a brain.
I also noticed that both times anything significant happened ~ she initiated it. He was always waiting for the right time. Once again, Too Stupid To Live.
(Oh ~ and Holly. She called him “the rat bastard”. Why did that make me think of you?)
I liked the side characters ~ Max, Alex’s brother, and Charity, Nina’s best friend. I sensed some undercurrents there and was surprised that there wasn’t a book written with them in mind. And I’m a little disappointed. I would have liked to learn more about Max. I loved Norma Lynn ~ I’d like being her a neighbor. She’d kick my lazy butt into shape real quick.
I’d say the book is somewhere between Okay and Good. Yes, it’s choppy and yes, it seems Crusie skips around a lot. But, for a first novel, it’s not half-bad. And it’s not meant to be a Nobel Prize winner. It’s meant to be a light, fluffy read ~ and at that, it succeeds.