The Art of Racing in the Rain meets The Time Traveller's Wife. An exploration of marriage, communication, love, loss, grief. Kind of sidles up to canine-human communication as a metaphor for the difficulty of knowing someone else, understanding who they are, what they're saying, what it means as a relationship begins and develops. Going in, I thought this was the central theme but it evolved differently than I expected.
The book is manipulative, there's no getting around it, in the same way as RITR and TTTW. And, the writing starts off kind of clunky, but then that fades into the background as the characterization (quite good) takes hold, and the plot takes off. There's quite a bit of subtlety here in theme and imagery that pulls it up from 3-star territory for me.
So yeah, it made me cry and made me a little mad that it did -- not, surprisingly, because of anything to do with the doggie. Ok, well maybe a little. And, although that bit of it presents quite an odd plot twist near the end - a contrivance necessary to have Paul let go of his attempts to get Lorelei to speak - it also is a catalyst and symbol for Paul's journey through grief. Which is really what what the tear-jerker side of this is all about, so kudos to Ms. Parkhurst for not taking the easy way out and writing what, I have to admit, is quite a nuanced look at grief and loss.
A worthwhile way to spend a Saturday afternoon. ETA:
dropped to a 3 because .... well, it doesn't fit with my 4s.