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Another Bad-Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love,…
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Another Bad-Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior

by Joni B. Cole

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You can also read my review here: http://www.bookbybookreview.blogspot.com/2011/10/review-another-bad-dog-book.htm...

When Joni first contacted me to ask for a review, she mentioned that someone had compared her to Jen Lancaster. Well, as anyone who has followed my blog knows, I am a HUGE Jen Lancaster fan so how could I possibly say no.

Even though it took me longer than anticipated to pick up the book, I am so glad that I did. Joni's book was full of stories that had me laughing out loud. Stories that made me instantly relate to her and her views. It took me two days to read but if I had had the time, I would have finished it in one sitting.

Normally a fiction fan, the memoir-style story is fastly becoming a top contender. Between Jen Lancaster and now Joni B. Cole, I am loving the fast-paced reading and the real-life stories that make me realize that it isn't just me... there are others out there that share my views and see the world through those 'special' tinted glasses!

Overall, the comparison is bang-on! If you want to laugh, you need to read this book. It is so good that I actually bought of her other novels, Water Cooler Diaries and This Day in the Life. YAY! ( )
  LindsayGentles | Jan 8, 2012 |
When I first read about this book on another blogger's site I expected something along the lines of lighter Erma Bombeck with a canine in the lead, giving a family's day-to-day a new dimension and teaching them a thing or two about themselves in the process. I got something different - an incredibly sincere and intimate collection of essays about a life that is often unglamorous and riddled with insecurities but is held together by love, family and friends.
Considering the title I thought that Eli, the saucer-eyed pooch, would be more present in the book but besides the first chapter, which is dedicated to the story of how he came to live with the Coles, he only appears one more time and doesn't display any uproarious bad-dog behavior. I think he's more of a quiet presence, a comfort for Joni when she needs it. And with everything she has on her plate I'd say she needs and deserves quite a bit of it.
While reading this book I was repeatedly impressed with Joni's willingness to talk about things that a lot of us save for conversations with people we trust the most, such as the times we realize that our parents have grown old, our desire for our careers to be a bit more glamorous, the challenges or raising children and the days when we wish our friends weren't quite so perfect. This willingness to be vulnerable in public makes Joni more real to me than a lot of other writers, especially because she doesn't try to be "writerly", she just tells her story with wit, attention to her surroundings and skill that makes reading it very much like talking to a friend who has a particular talent with words.
I absolutely loved the last essay and thought it was a wonderful finale. It talks about the reasons the author is uncomfortable with being born in the Year of the Dog according to the Chinese calendar. Incidentally I was also born in the Year of the Dog and have always had mixed feeling regarding what it says about my personality. Joni got to the bottom of hers and helped me understand mine better and gave me some food for thought in the process (the alpha-dog idea is great). As you know I like books that make me think and so Another Bad-Dog Book gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. ( )
  bolgai | Dec 20, 2011 |
Contrary to what the title might lead you to believe, this book isn’t actually about dogs. The dog (he’s very cute, by the way) makes a couple of appearances, but he isn’t the main attraction. Instead, Another Bad-Dog Book contains essays on a huge range of topics: parenting, writing, public speaking, living in Vermont, marriage, Facebook, beauty, New Year’s resolutions, American Idol, family, pets, growing up, and more. In essays that range from humorous to reflective to sarcastic, Joni B. Cole skillfully renders snippets of her life, from ordinary to bizarre, for readers to enjoy.

My first thought as I began reading Another Bad-Dog Book was, “Hey, Joni B. Cole reminds me of Jen Lancaster.” I’ve only read one of Lancaster’s books, but I enjoyed it well enough, so the comparison was a positive one. But as I read further, I began to realize that, while Cole can be scathingly, snarkily funny like Lancaster, Another Bad-Dog Book also contains a wide variety of other styles. Most pieces have at least a bit of humor — scathing, yes, or situational, or ironical — but several had a very different tone, serious and touching. I’d be smiling one moment and contemplative the next. Throughout the collection, Cole displays her talent for capturing moments both small and large and turning them into captivating pieces of writing.

I had a couple of minor quibbles with Another Bad-Dog Book which arose solely from my own preferences. First, I did sort of miss having a unifying theme to the book. The essays were enjoyable to read and well written, but there were moments when I wanted some overarching story to tie them together. Second, there were a couple of of essays (just a couple!) that came across as a bit grating. These were usually the snarkiest pieces, the ones that seemed a bit insensitive, and I must admit they rubbed me the wrong way. Overall, though, I had no problems with the essays’ content and enjoyed reading about the mix of topics Cole chose to explore and seeing Cole’s different approach to each.

If you enjoy essays, humorous and otherwise, about ordinary life, I would suggest you give Another Bad-Dog Book by Joni B. Cole a try. While every piece in the collection may not be your favorite, there is bound to be something in such a diverse collection for everyone. ( )
  erelsi183 | Oct 11, 2011 |
oni B. Cole is the person you want to be sitting next to whispering snarky comments and witty observations about the people around you. In this collect of essays about adopting the perfect dog and coming to grips with the whole aging thing, she discovers that she is not quite perfect and therefore needs a dog that will match her uniqueness - oh, and maybe get a book out of the deal. She find her match in Eli (aka E Pie Pie), an adorable misfit of a breed called a Chihuahua Bat. Cole was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and I have found that the parties responsible for this one, completely understand my wants and needs from a literary award. I have never been disappointed with any of their selections.

Yes, there are quite a few bad dog tales in this one, but seriously, her spray tan debacle should come with a warning label. Do not drink while reading this book since it will come out your nose while you laugh. There are also some very wonderful stories about fitting in, the pain and agony of getting older and the grieving process. Ok, the grieving process in the essay is about her foot pain, but still, it makes a lot of sense once you are at a certain age. Overall this is a book to hide in your bathroom, so you can pick it up if you ever need an escape. If you enjoy Celia Rivenbark, Dave Barry and Jen Lancaster, you will adore this one as well! ( )
  MaryinHB | Sep 10, 2011 |
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In this collection of twenty-eight "riotously funny and outrageously honest" true-life tales, author Joni B. Cole manage to mingle low moments with high comedy; and social awkwardness with social observation. The title essay was inspired when the author went to the bookstore and noticed all the bestsellers about adorably naughty dogs. At first resentful of these other writers' successes ("Unfortunately, my own career as an author had not been going so well these past couple years, not since I'd discovered the 'Watch Instantly' option on Netflix"), Cole eventually realized she had her own bad-d.… (more)

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