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Review: Men and Dogs

September 28, 2010

When Hannah Legare was eleven years old, her father took his dog out on his boat and never returned.  The boat was found with the dog on it, but there was no sign of Hannah’s beloved father.  Assuming he’s dead, Hannah’s mother moves on with her life, but Hannah and her brother Palmer aren’t so lucky.  Hannah can’t let go of the dream that her father’s alive and Palmer blames himself for his death.

Years later, Hannah is married to a good man, they have a very successful business and own a very expensive home in San Francisco.   It seems that Hannah can’t stand it though and she sabotages things every chance she gets.  When it seems that her marriage is at its end, her mother insists she return home to Charleston to recuperate.  Instead of resting, though, Hannah decides to revisit the past, and she’s not always happy with what she finds there.

Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch gave me a lot to think about.   Was it the early, unexplained loss of a loved one that affected Hannah and Palmer so much or was it the fact that their mother never faced any issues, but chose to brush them under the rug instead?  Hannah and Palmer faced a tragedy at a young age but no one ever seemed to address it and they both carried it in different ways their whole lives.

I will admit that I found Hannah annoying at times.  I don’t think she was a bad person, but she seemed to continually make poor choices and never learned from her mistakes.  I wanted to ask her what in the world she was thinking more than once.  She just never seemed to grow up and take responsibility for her actions.  Something  happens at the end of the book, though, that did give me some hope for Hannah and her future.

Hannah’s mother was a minor character, but I found her frustrating at times as well.  She seemed to think if she adopted a sunny attitude, all would be right with the world, so she completely ignored problems.  I wanted to take those blinders off of her.

Most of the book takes place in Charleston, and it’s almost like another character in the book.  Katie Crouch gets Charleston right, since it is her hometown, and I enjoyed the time I spent there in this book.

I liked Men and Dogs a lot, but I didn’t quite love it.  Having said that, I would love to see Crouch write a sequel, so I could see what the Legares are up to now.

Since Katie Crouch is originally from South Carolina and the book takes place here, I’m counting this as part of the Literary Road Trip.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
32 Comments leave one →
  1. givingreadingachance permalink
    September 28, 2010 5:05 am

    I have read mixed reviews of this one. I have found, I rarely enjoy books with frustrating characters, the ones you want to kick some sense into.
    And the mother, if taking a sunny attitude for everything would solve all issues, I guess no one would have any issues at all.

    Great review!

  2. September 28, 2010 5:42 am

    Just reading your synopsis made me frustrated. I understand some people have baggage and can’t handle (or don’t believe they deserve) the good life, but please. On the bright side, I think Charleston is the perfect setting for a book. Just walking through its streets, you can feel that it is a living, breathing character.

  3. September 28, 2010 8:26 am

    I am pretty sure that Girls In Trucks was set in Charleston too. I didn’t like the main character much in that one either, so I am not sure that this one is for me.

  4. September 28, 2010 9:46 am

    I don’t mind characters making bad decisions if I can see they have some motivation for doing so, but if they are just incapable of making good decisions, no thanks. Of course, I’m the reader who is always yelling, “No, you idiot! Don’t go in there!”

  5. September 28, 2010 9:56 am

    Interesting premise. Who can tell what effect childhood trauma will have on the adults who develop from those children? Kudos to Crouch for attempting it, and kudos to you for your cogent analysis!

  6. September 28, 2010 9:59 am

    I am really excited about reading this one. I think speaking with the author like we did really got me excited about the book. I can deal with an annoying character every now and then, so I don’t think that will turn me off. What I am really excited about with this book is the winding direction of the plot. I have to read some of her other stuff as well!

  7. September 28, 2010 10:12 am

    Unresolved issues rarely stop bothering you. I have one and wish it could be resolved. It would be interesting to read about that but frustrating characters can be frustrating too.

  8. September 28, 2010 10:52 am

    Doesn’t sound like one I really want to read. It sounds like I would get fed up with the characters.

  9. September 28, 2010 10:56 am

    I read the author’s previous novel and had some issues with it, partly with the character. Reading your review I wonder if I would enjoy this book more or be equally frustrated! I applaud the fact that the author chooses to explore characters in a different way, though. I think I’ll still give it a try!

  10. September 28, 2010 11:35 am

    Thanks for the review, don’t know either if this is for me,might try.

  11. September 28, 2010 12:02 pm

    I enjoyed reading your review, but am not sure if this is the book for me. It sounds like it might make a good beach read though.

  12. September 28, 2010 12:08 pm

    Nice review. I saw this one around some time ago and was a bit curious. Not a buy book, but library, yes

  13. September 28, 2010 12:55 pm

    Your review has made me very curious. I have this one and I should probably move it up in my stack. It sounds like it might be a great discussion book.

  14. September 28, 2010 1:00 pm

    I agree – I think Hannah needed a good shaking, but in the end I liked it. Great review.

  15. September 28, 2010 1:36 pm

    I was disappointed in Girls In Trucks, so I think I’ll pass on this one.

  16. September 28, 2010 1:44 pm

    I’ve admired the cover of this book for some time. Now, it’s good to hear about the contents of the book in your honest review. Thanks, Kathy!

  17. September 28, 2010 2:38 pm

    I love books set in Charleston but this one sounds like the characters would annoy me too much.

  18. September 28, 2010 2:51 pm

    I feel like her last one got a similar type of mixed review. The covers are also very similar. I have girls in Trucks, so I would likely start there if I go down this road.

  19. stacybuckeye permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:46 pm

    If you are hoping for a sequel the book must be worthwhile. I am intrigued by how what happened to her father affected every aspect of her life. And I do like books set in Charleston. Someday I’ll get there 🙂

  20. September 28, 2010 4:32 pm

    It sounds interesting, yet at the same time I’m not so sure it’s the right book for me.

  21. Elisabeth permalink
    September 28, 2010 4:54 pm

    I have been looking forward to reading this ever since I finished Kate Crouch’s other book Girls in Trucks, I think that’s right. I hope I am not going to be disappointed.

  22. September 28, 2010 5:32 pm

    If the characters are likable enough that you want a second visit with them, that’s a good sign.

  23. September 28, 2010 8:50 pm

    I visited Charleston once and just loved it. Such a charming city.

    And this sounds kind of promising … it makes me wonder if you get an answer to what happened to her father.

  24. September 28, 2010 10:28 pm

    I struggled with this one Kathy. I too found Hannah annoying and not taking any responsibility for her “slip ups”.

  25. September 29, 2010 5:26 am

    I haven’t read too many reviews of this one. I have it waiting for me. I should read it soon. It does sound interesting.

  26. September 29, 2010 9:41 pm

    Never read a review about this one…so thanks for sharing your thoughts. I read her first novel and that was pretty good.

  27. September 30, 2010 11:41 am

    I’ve seen this one around the bookstores when I dare go in but have not bought it (yet). As I plan on being in Charleston next year (yep I’m going!) then I will probably pick it up at some point between now and then if only to familiarize myself with the area…great review! I really like how you question Hannah’s ownership of growing up.

  28. October 1, 2010 10:00 am

    Hmm…I didn’t love her first one, so I haven’t picked this one up yet. I’m still not sure if I will. Thank for the review though!

  29. October 2, 2010 3:09 pm

    I think I’d be hard pressed to read a novel where I felt like throttling the main character. It would be the author’s strength for evoking such a strong reaction, but I’ll resist the urge to take the plunge.

  30. stilettostorytime permalink
    October 2, 2010 11:28 pm

    I had not heard of this one…love that the setting is Charleston…since you didn’t love it…is it worth fitting in a busy reading schedule?

  31. October 7, 2010 7:24 pm

    I have a feeling I would be annoyed at Hannah, but then I’m not Hannah and didn’t go through what she went through so it’s hard to say.

  32. bookingmama permalink
    August 21, 2014 6:13 pm

    Great review. Despite not loving Hannah, she did evoke some strong feelings in you — always a good thing in a book.

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