Book Den reviews: “Stay”

    After reading “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Dog’s Purpose” I tried my best to stay away from dog books. Dog books have a tendency to help me reach a new level of devastation, and feeling heartbroken after every novel takes too much recovery time. My attempts to stay away from the messy world of dog books ultimately failed when I picked up “Stay” by Allie Larkin; and once I picked the book up, I couldn’t put it back down.

    “Stay” follows the pitiful life of Savannah “Van” Leone. To say the least her life has begun to spiral out of control. Van still struggles with her mother’s passing, and the one person she found herself loving, her college crush, now stands at the altar with Van’s best friend Janie. Heartbroken and a little tipsy, Van isolates herself at home with endless amounts of alcohol and reruns of “Rin Tin Tin.” One thing leads to another, and suddenly Van makes a $6,000 payment for a German Shepard puppy. What Van expected to find in a cage at the airport ended up being a 100-pound, clumsy beast of a dog that only answers commands in Slovak. With little experience in how to raise an animal, the puppy named Joe offers a whole new adventure and outlook on life for Van.

    I can not deny it anymore, I am just a sucker for a good dog book. These types of books have a formula similar to tear-jerking movies and chick flicks. The heartbroken protagonist buys a dog (or finds one) without any idea of how to take care of it, but still finds a way to make everything turn out okay. “Stay” seemed to follow that formula at first, but quickly strayed. One of the main differences lies with Van. She initially seemed like the naive protagonist I would expect from this kind of book – the one that falls in love with someone who does not love her back, or uses alcohol to solve all of her problems – but it quickly came to by attention that Van had actual life problems. People cheated her out of so much in life and has been a pawn in everyone else’s game. Van needed someone on her side, and while that was painfully obvious throughout the book, it just escalated in her drunken state, resulting in the lovable slobber-ball called Joe entering her life.

    Larkin definitely deserves credit for creating a book that made me laugh, cry and scream with frustration. She dug deep with her story development and created complex characters that were easy to fall in love with. Larkin knows how to pull her audience in and make sure they pay attention until the very end. Every moment in the book had so many well written scenes and details, making it play out like a movie in my head.

    For anyone looking for a good book to read, regardless of their usual taste in novels, pick up “Stay.” The novel covers most genres in one storyline to create a well-rounded, loveable book.