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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
When Quinn, an advertising agency owner and writer, enrolls her two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in dog agility training, she discovers that their trainer Irina's lessons in positive reinforcement could be applied to disentangling her own personal and career dilemmas. "Life had become a series of expectations and demands,” she writes. "Rewarding good behavior certainly got me a lot further than demanding good behavior. Kindness to myself and to those around me elicited better responses than demands.” Quinn's conversational tone, evident affection for her dogs, and willingness to examine her mistakes endear her as a narrator, but the secondary characters—Quinn's ex, Henry, and even Irina herself—remain one-dimensional. The vilified Henry is so unpleasant, not even allowing her any of her own furniture in the house they briefly shared, that the reader questions Quinn's judgment. "There was no joy in me,” she writes of cohabitating with him. "I felt like I was facing a life sentence in prison.” A proliferation of sentence-long paragraphs—perhaps an advertising tic—doling out fortune-cookie philosophy ("Life isn't a race. There's no prize if you reach your goal faster than the next person.”), prevent the book from fulfilling the potential of its premise. (Sept.)