Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.
Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.
Gerard (In Transit) takes on the idea of dogs as wise spiritual guides, but her work suffers from sloppy canine afterlife design and a mismatch between its mildly sarcastic wit and its saccharine message. The biggest issue is the lack of inherent dogginess in the first-person narrative of Yorkshire terrier Prozac, a certified therapy dog (on Earth) and spirit guide dog ("highly evolved and placed in people's lives on purpose"). He shares the book's stage with Meridith Mancuso, a midlist novelist who's been depressed and self-isolating ever since the death of her fianc . When Meridith unwillingly becomes Prozac's keeper while his owner recovers from surgery, she is pulled back into the outside world, especially through his weekly therapy visits with the doting but quirky and manipulative elder residents of Evergreen Gardens, who treat him like a treasured limited resource. Romance between Meredith and the son of one of the Evergreen residents is a sweet if obvious plot choice, and Gerard traps herself with twists that require an overly sentimental ending.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Is this an endearing book about a dog? Yes. But it's more than that. The devastating ache of loss throbs through its pages from beginning to end. Even though the story is tempered with a good dose of humor and tail-wagging cuteness, be prepared—it's an emotional read with a capital E.
But that's what I like about it.
Author Kathleen Gerard doesn't sugarcoat anything. She doesn't patronize the reader by simply writing a standard dose of feel-good fluff. Her book is funny. It's sad. It leaves its mark on the heart by putting you inside a grieving woman's head. You feel everything she's feeling—why she's withdrawn, why she's given up on life, but then Gerard goes the extra mile by showing that woman's pain from the point of view of a therapy dog.
That's what got to me, feeling the pity the dog has for her. He doesn't want to see her so sad. He wants her to live again. And something about that, really tugs at the heartstrings. This little Yorkshire Terrier becomes her biggest cheerleader, rooting for her to take a chance on life again, encouraging her to follow his example and not be afraid to open up to people.
And the beautiful thing is, that little by little, that's exactly what she does.