Saturday, March 24, 2012

Devin O'Branagan's Show Dog Sings the Blues: a review

Talisman, a pampered show dog with attitude, has a play date with her sister Maddie, who is a hardcore cowdog. Through an unfortunate mixup, the two dogs are switched and Talisman has to cowdog-up for the day.

It is an Australian Shepherd Freaky Friday!

A hilarious spinoff from the RED HOT series of comic novels, told from the dog's perspective.

A portion of the proceeds from this novella will be donated

An uplifting, inspiring tale for humans of all ages!

Show Dog

A bonus post! Why? Two reasons: a) Red Hot Liberty and Show Dog go hand in hand, so I didn’t want them to get separated by too many posts, and, more importantly, b) Show Dog is a novella in a class of its own and deserved its own spot. Plus, I have a feeling that Talisman would enjoy having a special day all about her. She’s that kind of dog.

Reading Show Dog Sings the Blues conveniently coincided with this month’s flash fiction contest on Devin’s forum (I’ll take a moment to plug – go, read, vote! I’ll wait until you get back), where the prompt was to write from the point of view of an animal. I decided to contribute and realised it's not nearly as easy as I thought it'd be. To get into the head of a being we don’t really understand and make them real without taking away their innate animalness.

This is not a cheesy story. It’s not a children’s tale where the characters just happen to be animals. Tali explores the world exactly the way a dog would. The decisions she makes are based on instinct, on training, and on her understanding of her purpose as a dog. She demonstrates the importance animals have in the human world, the healing power they possess when we need it most.  I experienced her fear, her intuition, and was rooting for her from the moment she was cast out to work for the day. 

Both Red Hot Liberty and Show Dog follow the same theme of choosing what you want to fight for, but Talisman grabs hold of this theme even better than the characters in Liberty. Through her decisions and actions, she really brings to life the words of her heart person, Val DeMitri: "Courage is a choice". 

This novella is worth the read. Especially at the end of a really hard day (and let's face it, that usually sums up most Mondays - Fridays, right?), when all you want is to lose yourself in something fun, something that will make you laugh and make you feel warm. Does it need to be read with the others in the Red Hot series? Not necessarily - it holds up as a cute story in its own right - but when taken as part of the whole, there are so many more layers to it. It offers a better understanding of what makes Tali who she is. Honestly, though? I don't think Red Hot is what holds up Show Dog. I think it's the other way around. Tali always does steal the show. 

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  1. Talisman has asked me to thank you for acknowledging her magnificence. (She has also just asked me for a raise.) ;-)

  2. Oops - sorry, Devin! I didn't think about the consequences such a review might have. I suppose you'll need to consider it now if you want her to cooperate for the next book...

  3. Thanks for the review! I will definitely be checking both of those books out. They look great!