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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Mr. Dog by Sam Wade is the tale of two dogs from different sides of the tracks. Ms. Goodrich, a retired schoolteacher in Warm Springs, befriends Mr. Dog, a stray pup who can communicate telepathically. Meanwhile, the rich Mrs. Hilton is shocked to hear that her darling Pomeranian, Penelope, has become unfashionable. She determines that this situation can be fixed the same way as life's other issues: through plastic surgery. Ms. Goodrich, in violation of a no-dog rule in her apartment block, attempts to assert her dominance over Mr. Dog, who is not having it. Mr. Dog and Penelope escape, but life on the streets ends when they are apprehended, soon learning that the Humane Society is not so humane. Rejected by adopters, they face impending euthanasia as the dreaded sixth day looms. Escaping again seems impossible, but even if they can, the uphill battle for survival will have only just begun.
It takes quite a lot for a story to surprise me at this point, but Mr. Dog by Sam Wade did exactly that, over and over again. The author's brilliance lies in his ability to introduce unexpected twists and reversals. The ending is probably the craziest example of this, but another is the initial hero status bestowed upon one of the human characters, only for the situation to dramatically shift. Wade injects dark humor and satire throughout the story but amps them up with symbolism and allegorical elements, like Mr. Roper as a symbolic representation of the Hangman or Devil. It shows intelligence in the wit of an already thoughtful tale, transcending the surface level of the plot. Wade takes readers on a ride that proves to be an emotional rollercoaster, teasing us with despair and then hope, only to force us around again. Nobody will ever be able to accuse Wade of being unskilled at connecting readers with the characters. Readers should have a box of tissues handy. Very highly recommended.