DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Littlefield, Massachusetts is an idyllic, quaint town that has been listed as one of the best places to live in America. Unfortunately the topic of whether or not dogs should be allowed off of their leashes in the dog park has torn this town in two. Posting signs both for and against this cause around town, its residents are at odds with each other over something as trivial as this. Enter Dr. Claire Watkins, a sociologist who has come to town to write a paper describing small town life here. She witnesses first-hand the rift in this community. But when someone goes too far and dogs end up poisoned and dead, everyone is on the hunt for the culprit.
Centered around the Downing family, Margaret and Bill are a married couple whose flame has run out. Their daughter Julia is a troubled teen who seeks attention elsewhere which oftentimes puts her in dangerous situations. So when their dirty laundry comes out, the dog problems doesn't seem so bad after all.
Let me start by saying this: what an odd little book this was.
The writing was pretty good, the story, though unusual, was pretty good, and the flow was pretty good but there was just something about this book that didn't all fit together for me. It felt as if this book was having an identity crisis. The opening was all about the dogs dying but about halfway through, the dog story disappeared and the marital crisis story took shape. It wasn't until the end that the dog story concluded and even then it was very underwhelming.
I feel that Berne is a talented writer but that this book could've used more direction and a stronger sense of purpose. When I first picked this book up, I looked at the review. Not good. Awful, in fact. And I don't really understand why people disliked this book as much as they did. I certainly didn't walk away thinking I had just wasted my time or that this was the worst book I had ever read. For me, it was just forgettable. I finished it then said 'On to the next one'.
It was advertised as having some humor to it. It doesn't. At all. Not even in the least bit. So if you do read this book, don't expect it. But it does have characters that take shape and even have the reader supporting them despite some of the poor decisions they make. It was a fairly short book and I feel that had it been made longer, even a little bit, there could've been more character development.
Overall, not terrible but not great.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.