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Apologizing to Dogs by Joe Coomer

Apologizing to Dogs

by Joe Coomer

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The first thing I thought when I started to read this book is odd, odd, odd. For one, the first character you meet is a man named "Bone." He's not called Bone because he's super skinny. Nothing obvious like that. He's called Bone because he sucks on a chicken bone all the time. How bizarre.
The whole story just gets weirder and weirder. Elderly Effie sits out on her porch and spies on the neighborhood. She keeps a journal of everything her paranoid self sees. Her neighbors come and go around her, all of them quirky, too. I found the development of each character too shallow to muster up any real feelings for them. In fact, there are so many characters and their development so shallow I had trouble keeping them straight. In all, there are over 18 different characters and each get barely a paragraph at one time. If anyone, I liked Carl the best. In an effort to impress a woman he builds a boat...from inside his house - using the insides of his house. And. And, I liked Himself, the dog. Himself is the star of the story, but you wouldn't know right away. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Apr 12, 2008 |
bizarre, funny, somehow memorable though trivial overall. Still makes me smile

this is a bit offtrack for Coomer's books: it's funnier by half, the relationships are more banal, but hey it does contain a ship lol. It's years later and I can still picture and smile about some of the scenes and images. ( )
  BCCJillster | Dec 31, 2007 |
A fine novel about a group of eccentric and aging antique store owners in Worth Row, a historic district of Fort Worth. As the story develops, their lives are shown to be increasingly intertwined in many ways. The characters are not all nice folk, but they are all finely drawn, and roughly engaging. The main quibble I have is how thirty years of slowly tangling lives and loves and secrets and passions all come to an improbable boil on one climactic day. But this is an author to watch for. ( )
  burnit99 | Jan 5, 2007 |
A feast of characters, quirky, witty and so real. A book to savor. ( )
  dogearedpage | Dec 9, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684859475, Paperback)

About the last thing you'd expect to find on a street arrayed with a dozen antique shops is something novel. Yet Worth Row, the setting for Joe Coomer's eighth book, Apologizing to Dogs, is fairly brimming with surprise and revelation. Romance, thievery, blackmail, and more all come to light on one bewildering day in Fort Worth's historic antique district. By the time the dust has settled, Coomer's quirky cadre of shop owners find their fragile equanimity forever shattered.

Slowly and surely losing patrons to the nearby mall, the Row is presided over by the prim and sentimental clothes dealer Nadine, who is the object of carpenter Carl's desire. His other passion, it turns out, is gutting his house to build the ship that he hopes will ferry Nadine and him to a new life. Meanwhile, Carl's neighbor, the recalcitrant Howard Dog-in-His-Path, conceals a bevy of confidences while loafing in his front-yard tub; the reclusive, paranoid Effie peers through her shutters and transcribes up-to-the-minute neighborhood reports in her journal; and, across the street, Tradio and Arthur are caught between the need to reveal they're lovers and the desire to keep the Row's boat from rocking. Just up the street are Mr. and Mrs. Haygood, and next to them are Mazelle--of Mazelle's Rare and Medium Rare Books--and her husband. These two couples form a love-square that gets dug up, literally, by a curious dog.

Just about every bit of tangled lineage and concealed secret gets exposed in Coomer's outlandish tale. At its best, Apologizing to Dogs reveals the tension between nostalgia and fulfillment, as well as the overwhelming force of our attachments, material or otherwise. "Why do we save old things," Arthur asks Nadine. "Why do we collect these old precious things?" In its improbable eruptions and rambling dialogue, however, the novel occasionally sacrifices verisimilitude for reheated comedy. The paradox of selling the old in order to sustain the present keeps the novel churning along. Soak up the bittersweet laughs, but, as one character says, tellingly, "Don't try to guess the end. Try not to figure it out." --Ben Guterson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:16 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A novel on the oddball residents of a Fort Worth neighborhood. Among them is Aura, so fat she is unaware she is pregnant, and Carl who is dismantling his house to build a boat on which to sail away with Nadine, owner of a used clothing store.

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