Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stay by Allie Larkin

It's kinda cute how this book arrived at my house.. what with it being related to dogs so I'm starting my review a bit different in order to share the story... One morning this week, as I was catching some badly needed and much appreciated zzzzz's, my pug, Pudgy went ape.

For those that may not already know, I'm deaf and this little pug is my live, four -legged hearing aide. No training whatsoever. Well, she starts barking her head off and jumps on the bed and makes sure I wake up. At first, I think, "Get off me!!! I work ten hours a day, you ungrateful wench! I'll feed you when I get up and am darn good and ready!" Then I realize she is telling me someone is at the door.

Not my front door really but had to throw that in here. Lovely door. Knocking on my door is the Fed Ex guy with a book just for me!! What a great way to start my day!

And the book he had for me was Stay by Allie Larkin and I was so pleased I gave Pudgy a treat. And it is a great book!!!! Now for the review.. (I know, I know, it took forever but I really had to give Pudgy credit where it was due and the book does have a dog as one of the main characters so it works. :) )

This is not a story about a dog really.. but about a young woman struggling with heartbreak, loss, and life in general and the dog helps her thru it.

Van (short for Savanah) has lived her entire life in the background. Her best friend, Jane is the daughter of her mother's former employer. Jane has hogged the spotlight for as long as Van can remember and the spotlight hogging doesn't stop with adulthood. Rather than stop at hogging all the attention and sympathy, Jane has stolen Van's "boyfriend" or the man Van hoped would be her boyfriend. Van's mother has died of breast cancer tho and Jane and her mom, Diane are all Van feels she has in the world and thus finds herself still struggling to please her adopted "family" rather than please herself.

So when Jan and Peter, the love of Van's life, get married, Van finds herself in severe depression. A combination of vodka and the internet brings Joe into Van's life. Joe is a german shepard puppy. In a way, Joe rescues Van. Anyone who has ever been in a bad slump in life and adopted their first dog will completely related to Van and Joe and how Joe changes not only Van's life, but Van herself. (My own Lola gets all credit for making me a better person and making my life worth living at times.)

Thanks to Joe, Van meets a sexy, rugged, loggery type vet named Alex and things take off. However, Peter and Jane come back into the picture and start making their demands again and Van has to learn to say NO and live for herself. Can she do it? If she can't do it, she risks losing Alex forever. After all, we all know how shaky new relationships are..

I must admit to being slightly biased. Throughout this novel, I felt as tho I was reading about myself ten years ago. There was a time before I met my husband that I was often lost in my cups of wine and my very own mother had breast cancer so I could def relate to Van. Memories were also brought to my mind of when I first got my little Lola. I had no clue what to do and rushed to the vet just like Van does. (I did not have a sexy vet tho! Bummer that!) She also curses like a sailor much like myself. I was not bothered by this at all but I can see others getting their panties in a wad over some of the language.

The book is filled with heartache, forgiveness, dealing with the death of a loved one, and humor too. There are many incidents with the new puppy Joe that had me laughing so hard I snorted. I also enjoyed Van's spunk when it came to the surface. My personal favorite quote is from when Van is trying to convince the home owner's association president that she should be allowed to keep her "over the weight limit" dog and she says, "Are the Parker's children listed on their mortgage? Because maybe they need to find their kids a new home too."

I requested and received this book from Penguin Group.


  1. LOL oh Tara, this sounds like a very enjoyable book. I can't wait to read it. I like the personal touches you added about your self. Nothing like seeing your self in writing is there? I am glad Pudgy is there it makes me feel a lot better.
    Great review and I know you related in many ways to this topic. Hope we never have to go thru it again either. Great review

  2. If I can ever bring myself to read another contemporary novel I'll have to try this. Grrrr, on the homeowner association and the weight limit. A little dog can bark just as (if nor more) annoyingly than a big dog can.

    Kudos to Lola for taking care of mom.

  3. I loved this review! Especially enjoyed the pictures, particularly Pudgy's face looking up at the camera. I hardly ever read contemporary books anymore, like Misfit, but I'm going to look for this at the library when I go there on Monday. I sure enjoyed your own story, too. And the last paragraph is so perfect for me and my situation, with several felines but no children. (Sawyer)

  4. Misfit, my dogs make less racket than the neighborhood children on their bloody trampolines. LOL

    Holly, it is a spanking new release so I doubt the library will have it yet, but you can get your name on the list. And thanks. I'm glad you liked my review. It was a great book. I'm sure you will relate to it too even tho it a dog and not a cat. We love them all the same.

  5. I have to agree with you Tara. I have seen kids so darn loud and obnoxious that it gives one a head ache.
    I bet a lot of people will be able to relate to this book. There are more cases of cancer daily and other illnesses it is unreal. I think a pet can help you thru many of life's trials.

  6. I love the story and the review. I hope you write more of these great stories to go along with the reviews, although I know we can't expect them *all* the time. Lola is a doll - great pictures..