When I first picked up Dog Training The American Male I thought it might be a humorous take on a self-help book about dating and relationships. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was actually a work of fiction about a woman in a new relationship who finds herself house training a dog at the same time she moves in with her boyfriend. You can see where this is going!
The book is written by Steve Alten, under the pen name L.A. Knight. Alten is The New York Times best-selling author of Meg, currently being adapted into a film starring Jason Statham and Rainn Wilson.
I read Dog Training The American Male on my flight to Miami, FL for Thanksgiving. It felt like He's Just Not That Into You swirled with Tom Perrotta's Little Children. It's dating catastrophes set in sexually-charged suburbia.
The protagonist, Dr. Nancy Beach, lives in Boca Raton, FL (appropriate for my Miami trip). She is a relationship counselor and the host of a radio show called "Love's a Beach." Nancy has been engaged twice, but has struggled to find long-lasting love. Her sister's girlfriend is at a doctor's appointment and while talking to the doctor she learns that he has a single brother about Nancy's age. They decide to set up a triple date to introduce them.
The fix up was a success and Nancy found herself with a new boyfriend, Jacob Cope. After a few short weeks, Nancy and Jacob move in together. Nancy finds cohabitating to be quite the challenge, especially when Jacob surprises her by bringing home a German Shepherd.
The second half of the book is set up in chapters named after phases of dog training. In each chapter, Nancy practices the same techniques on their dog as she does on Jacob. Some of it's hilarious, some of it's predictable.
Overall, I found Dog Training the American Male to be compulsively readable. Even in moments where I felt like "I saw that coming!" I still wanted to read the next chapter. I could easily see this story being adapted for the big screen.
If you are looking for a book to bring on your holiday travels, this one is definitely entertaining!
*A review copy was provided to me of Dog Training the American Male. As always, all opinions are 100 percent my own.